Victorian Green Paper submission by Lighter Footprints

Lighter Footprints
Lighter Footprints

Submission from Lighter Footprints Climate Change Action Group (working draft)

Response of Lighter Footprints to the Victorian Government Climate Change Green Paper

To:<Address 1><Address 2>

From:Lighter Footprints Spokesperson and Administrative Committee member

Lighter Footprints is a community climate change action group with over 300 supporters from the Boroondara area in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

NOTE: This submission (when finalised) will be endorsed and authorised by Lighter Footprints and issued on behalf of our supporters.

This wiki article has been used to formulate the final Lighter Footprints submission to the Green Paper.

The article is no protected as the contents for the final submissions are now being finalised.

Submission text follows.


Lighter Footprints welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Climate Change Green Paper. It is acknowledged by the group that climate change provides unprecendented challenges for governments, communities, individuals, businesses, societal institutions and ecosystems. It is vital therefore that the approach of the Victorian Government, in the development of the White Paper and the draft Climate Change Bill, reflects the scale and extent of the changes needed to mitigate against catastrophic and irreversible climate change, as well as strategies to adapt to the changes already underway. The government must outline comprehensive policies that will ensure Victoria accepts its fair share of the global responsibility to restore a safe climate and provide a safe transition for all people and all species. Victoria is extraordinarily vulnerable to climate change, and we must act swiftly.

Lighter Footprints takes the position that we must move at emergency speed to address the climate crisis. It advocates the stabilisation of atmospheric C02 at between 280-320ppm to ensure a safe climate future. This should be achieved through a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy by 2020 and drawing down excess CO2 from the atmosphere.

Concerns regarding the Climate Change Green Paper

One of the central issues of concern with the Climate Change Green Paper is that it relies heavily on national policy to deliver cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by assuming the establishment of a national emissions trading scheme to set a price on carbon. The CPRS is rejected as the central mechanism for driving emissions cuts, as is the suggestion that the Victorian Government can do little to cut emissions or establish targets in it own right. Emissions reduction must be planned for here, regardless of national action – this is all part of accepting our historical carbon debt and addressing our fair share of carbon emissions reductions.

As it currently stands, the federal government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will not reduce emissions effectively, if at all.

The emissions targets are set far too low, and the availability of overseas credits for offsetting domestic emissions means there will be no emissions cuts here for decades, and the Federal Treasury’s own modelling assumes no cuts before 2035. The modelling behind the CPRS is aimed at a stablisation target of 450pppm, which is inconsistent with the science and sets Australia on a course for catastrophic and irreversible climate change. Leading international climate scientists Hans Schellnhuber and James Hansen advocate for a stablisation of atmospheric CO2 ar less than 350ppm, so any scheme that is predicated on a higher stablisation level will be ineffective in achieving the reductions that are necessary to restore a safe climate.

Other problems with the CPRS are that: • Agriculture and forestry are not included, despite the evidence that there are many potential gains in emmission reductions through appropriate agricultural practices and the preservation and extenstion of native forest; • The setting of a floor means that our individual lifestyle change contributions to emissions reductions will be matched by increasing industry emissions within the (too low) target, thus maintaining emissions at the same level as if we had done nothing; • The scheme does not factor in our national energy exports, and thus our contribution to increasing emissions in countries purchasing our coal and fossil fuels; • Some of our biggest polluters will get up to 94.5 per cent of their permits at no cost to them. This means people like us (taxpayers) who want to reduce emissions, are actually funding industry emissions and propping up what would be uncompetitive industries in a green economy.

The adoption of this policy as a central mechanism to reduce emissions in Australia will only serve to delay a transition to a low carbon/zero emissions economy.

The Green Paper seems to suggest the state is positioning itself to focus on adaptation and rely on the federal government for mitigation. While it is acknowledged the federal government has a stronger revenue base to fund mitigation measures, the Victorian government has a responsibility to act in the interests of the Victorian community by providing leadership through the development and implementation of policy that will ensure Victorians contribute to their fair share of the global obligation to reduce emissions.

Achieving this will mean comprehensive changes to the energy sector are needed; however many initiatives outlined in the Green Paper are predominantly targeted at individuals, such as encouraging household solar power and energy reductions through voluntary measures – the effects of which are unevenly distributed and only marginally effective in reducing state wide emissions. In targeting the community, the government is ignoring the huge contribution being made to climate change by the Victorian energy sector, specifically coal.The Green Paper outlines a range of policy “levers” but fails to recognise that voluntary measures have allowed many industries and sections of the community to continue to ignore their contribution to emissions growth. There is no longer time to delay; relying on voluntary action is no longer appropriate as action must be immediate and it must be effective.

As the Green Paper acknowledges, climate change has now reached a point that catastrophic tipping points are very near or may have even been passed. However the Green paper has failed to clearly document the predicted consequences of ongoing growth in carbon emissions.

The advice to the government from the Premier’s Climate Change Reference Group outlined in the Green Paper appears to have been largely ignored. For example, the group advises the establishment of targets at the state level of: a peak in emission by 2010, emission reduction targets of 25-40% below 1990 by 2020, and 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. It also recommends the establishment of an aggressive energy efficiency strategy.

The reference in the Green Paper to the global financial crisis serves only to underscore the importance of shifting our economy to a low carbon economy so we do not face another financial crisis when we reach peak oil, or when high emissions industries are suddenly forced to close because of a global carbon price. The argument that the costs of targets are too high (p.30) is a false one – as pointed out in the Stern report and the Garnaut review, the costs of failing to cut emissions effectively will be much higher later.

The modelling in the Green Paper does not take into account the potential for strong emissions cuts as demonstrated by the recent reports from the Nous Group McKinsey and Co. and Climate Risk. The evidence suggests it is possible and affordable to substantially reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in a relatively short time without major technological breakthroughs or even major lifestyle changes – if governments, business and the community act quickly.

Achieving emissions cuts in Victoria

Lighter Footprints supports the implementation of strong policy instruments such as legislation to regulate emissions treating excess CO2 as a dangerous and harmful gas and mandating its reduction to restore atmosperic CO2 to pre-industrial levels.

This will require: transformation of the energy sector to renewable energy supply; substantial changes to both modes of transport and their energy supply; significant improvements in energy efficiency; changes to the way we approach the built environment; changing the way we use land and water, and in the production and management of waste; and effecting large scale societal change to not only engage the whole community in addressing the challenge we face but in contributing to the solutions to achieve a safe climate. All of this requires strong leadership from and within the Victorian Government, not least of which be effected by demonstrating a committment to emissions reductions within government departments and agencies.

According to a 2008 McKinsey and Co report, an annual investment of around $300 per Australian household could achieve cuts in emissions of 30% below 1990 levels by 2020.

A 2008 report by the Nous Group, Turning It Around, found even more significant cuts in Victorian greenhouse gas emissions are possible. If significant investments were made in Victoria in renewable energy (with concurrent efforts to reduce energy demand), greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria could be reduced by 60% by 2020.

We not only have the technology we need – we also have the financial means to shift to a low carbon economy. A 2009 Climate Risk report reveals the costs of shifting to a low carbon economy are well within our reach: demonstrating Australia could successfully transform to a low carbon economy at less than half the amount spent by the federal government on the recent economic stimulus package. While the time-frame for the report of 2010-2050 is outside the parameters required to address dangerous climate change, it is instructive in that its’ estimate of the costs of making this necessary transition over four decades would be a relatively small investment – AUD $28.3billion.

Unfortunately, the modelling also reveals that neither the Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, or its Renewable Energy Target, will generate the amount needed to meet the required investment.

Consideration should also be given to the regulation of other gases which have global warming effects, such as nitrogen trifluoride which is used in the production of both LCD and Plasma Screen Televisions. This gas is 17,000 times more potent as a global warming agent than a similar mass of carbon dioxide and survives in the atmosphere about five times longer than carbon dioxide. These televisions are frequently produced in countries with both poor environmental records and occupational health and safety.

Transforming our energy sector

The energy sector is responsible for 67% of Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions – therefore this must be a priority for the Victorian Government in legislating to cut emissions.

Lighter Footprints advocates the development of a suite of policy measures to provide a transition away from the use of coal as an energy source in Victoria and to boost the roll out of renewable energy technologies in the fastest possible timeframe. There is a strong argument for government intervention to achieve the necessary changes in the time available, and considerable concern with regard to the use of market mechanisms to effectively regulate emissions when there is manifest evidence that the market has comprehensively failed in relation to acknowledging and acting on climate change in a timely manner.

There is strong evidence that there will not be any technology commercially available to capture and store carbon from coal fired power in the time frame we have. We need to make very strong emissions cuts within just a few years, therefore we must concentrate on making a complete transition to clean, renewable energy technology as soon as possible. Transforming the energy sectors over several decades (as proposed on p. 34 of the Green Paper) will not avert dangerous, irreversible climate change.

This will require investment in incentives boost the capacity of large scale solar power and wind energy generation, as well as support for more local community co generation projects – keeping generation of power closer to communities that use it. Examples of this include Hepburn Springs Wind Farm, proposals for a community wind farm in the Macedon Ranges, and the initiative by the Boroondara Council and its trial of co-generation for pools [more information can be provided on request].

We need to establish a Smart Grid that will not only support the increased contribution of intermittent supply from renewable energy, but will also provide opportunities for households as well as organisations to understand their own energy use in order to reduce where possible, as well as purchase power according to range of pricing plans that will reduce the pressure of peaks and troughs in supply and demand.

Initiatives are underway to demonstrate how Australia can make a transition to a zero carbon economy. Melbourne consultancy Beyond Zero Emissions is currently preparing a national plan to outline how Australia can make such a transition. The guiding principles behind this plan are that all technological solutions must be proven, reliable, commercially available and costed at today’s prices.

Early evidence from the stationary energy sector plan demonstrate that a transition to 100% renewables by 2020 is possible, and reveals doing so could almost halve Australia’s emissions. The plan will also enable energy security to be enhanced, and will ensure there are no adverse environmental consequences (eg land clearing for biofuel crops).

Over the next decade, the draft plan envisages the implementation of energy efficiency measures to restrain demand ; the large scale electrification of transport and cutting of transport emissions through modal shifts (from private to public transport); the creation of a smart grid; and obtaining electricity supply from solar thermal power stations (which could provide baseload power) and wind turbines. Subsequent work on the plan will provide separate “zero carbon” plans for transport, land use, buildings, industrial processes and replacing coal export revenue.

Some of the options for cutting of emissions and transformation of the energy sector include the following:

For all energy users to be supplied with smart meters to promote awareness of energy use and costs;

Expediting the provision of permits particularly for wind power;

Greater direct investment in the deployment of renewables;

Encouraging passive solar options should be encouraged, for example through grants to support heat recycling systems from roof space into buildings;

Incentives to encourage the use of sensors for lights in businesses; and a lights off at night policy should be pursued wherever possible in the city;

The establishment of a gross feed in tariff for small scale renewables and emerging technologies;

Increase the renewable energy target to hasten deployment;

A moratorium of coal and a plan for decommissioning coal in Victoria by 2020.


There are many opportunities for reducing emissions in the use of transport in Victoria.

Much could be achieved by modal shifts (from private cars to public transport); the use of (electrified) rail to replace much of the heavy haulage currently undertaken by road transport; and the development of a national fast rail network to link our major capital cities to reduce domestic aviation emissions.

Some of the mechanisms for achieving these changes obviously include major infrastructure projects, but much of the modal shift to public transport could be achieved through pricing signals on fossil fuels.

Cutting emissions on existing transport can be achieved by strong regulation of emissions, and successful examples are the effectiveness of this are readily avialable in California, where efforts since the 1990s and more recently the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) have substantially reduced the carbon intensity of fuels for passenger vehicles and transportation. The green paper incorreclty claims there is no simple solution to reducing transport emissions (p. 37) – however this is untrue, as California has done it very successfully and remains a thriving economy.

Other issues:

There is an urgent need for investment in training to develop skills for building new rail networks and rolling stock for freight as well as public transport.

Accessiblity of public tranport needs improvement – there is currently a lack of accessibility particularly to trains for certain members of the community: eg the aging (but not disabled), persons recovering from injury/illness, the chronically ill, and families with babies or pre-schoolers. These groups need to be able to park a short distance from train stations. Inititatives such as additional parking and a doctor issued parking pass of either a temporary or permanent nature depending on the condition and a parking for parents pass for families with children under 5 should be considered. Passes for the elderly and families with young children might be limited to off peak times.

To enhance community safety, Lighter Footprints supports the introduction of roving conductors on the trains as are used in Sydney, as well as alarms such as a misconduct button in addition to the emergency button so that if passengers are abusive towards other passengers, are vandalising the train, or other inapproriate behaviour, the carriage can be filmed and a conductor summoned to assist.


It is vital to establish strong incentives to encourage car manufacturers to move towards full electrification of vehicles, powered by clean, renewable energy technology.

Some of the options for this include:

Regulation – development of strong emissions standards ie mandatory vehicle fuel efficiency standards;

Differential registration of vehicles based on emissions levels – related to the size of the vehicle and type of fuel used, with very much reduced fees for electric vehicles. The weight of car could also be a factor in registration costs. This can apply to freight vehicles as well. Other incentives could be provided through negotitating with local government to develop parking provisions so that electric and hybrid vehicles are given priority, possibly even free parking, in the city. This could also apply to the size of cars so that small cars are allowed access but large cars simply don’t fit or are disqualified; and

Direct public investment in electric vehicle technology.

Other initiatives could include a buy back scheme for old vehicles which fail to achieve stronger emissions standards, similar to the “Cash for Clunkers” scheme curently being rolled out in the US.

Energy efficiency

There are significant emissions reductions possible through improvements in the energy efficiency of the built environment and improving the efficiency of energy use.

The McKinsey and Co report estimates significant cuts in emissions could be achieved by improving the efficiency of energy use in factories, offices and households through insulation and retrofitting of electric motors and airconditioning systems, which would deliver huge savings in power bills.

It cannot be emphasized enough that the cheapest cuts in emissions are in fact from greater efficiency, particularly use of insulation and using less power, as well as using technologies such as capturing waste heat and using for generation. A feed in tariff for recycled co-generated electricity in industrial uses should be considered to give industry more incentives to recycle energy.

Most effective methods of cutting emissions is through improving the efficiency of building “envelopes” through insulation, double glazing and prevention of draft stripping.

This can be achieved though increasing the scope and availability of programs to conduct audits of household and commercial buildings as well and local communities assisting. Need more incentives.

Built environment

Building account for a considerable proportion of the state’s energy consumption and use of raw materials. Planning of the built environment is poor – innovative options exist but are not being utilised, but must include strong regulations of emissions standards. Approvals for developments and proposals for the built environment need review. Development of strong standards for all buildings (new and existing) for the highest possible energy efficiency is vital, as is the provision of incentives for retrofitting and installation of low energy appliances. In addition, improvements in urban planning are vital – the government needs to address the issue of expanding city boundaries, with denser urban living especially along transport corridors and around rail for activity centres.

At present, concerns exist with regard to: i. The need for standards for building development eg multi level complexes, business and infrastructure development; ii. Star ratings are all concentrated on the new build whereas they should also apply to retrofits; iii. There is no limit to the size of a building and no requirement to keep any area of garden “habitat” in the urban area and trees can be removed seemingly whenever they are in the way; iv. Stiffer penalties are needed for urban deforestation and significant tree removal.

Buliding standards should be extended beyond five star to the same standards as Europe (7 star), and should address passive solar issues of aspect as well as insulation and other fundamentals. A higher energy efficiency standard is particularly important – and flats and apartments should have an equal or higher energy star requirement to houses or units. Occupants of flats or apartments may not have access to the same range of measures home occupiers have to ameliorate their energy expenses or water consumption – they will be able to use measures such as purchasing energy efficient appliances and window insulation, but few flats or apartments will have access to a north-facing roof and solar energy, or have space available to install any microgeneration, or be able to collect tank water for use in toilet and laundry. This potentially leaves the occupiers of flats and apartments more exposed to increases in electricity and water costs than persons who occupy a home with land. Failure to adopt 7 star and higher energy star requirements for flats and apartments has real potential to increase social division within the community.

Free standing houses and units should have the land space to collect at least 5000 litres of water, and preferably 10,000 litres for internal and garden use. They should also have space for microgeneration units. Any development that is approved without such space should be obliged to reach a higher energy star requirement to protect future occupants from increases in electricity and water costs.

Exposure to increased electricity and water costs is also true of renters. Measures should be in place to encourage or coerce owners of rental properties to install insulation, including window insulation, water tanks, microgeneration and or solar panels and to landscape for maximum cooling effect.

A five star rating shouold be introduced for landscapes: streetscapes, shopping & commercial zones, parks and private gardens. This must be done not only to combat temperature increase from climate change but also to avoid the effects of temperature increase associated with the urban heat island effect. The greater the number of people Melbourne is expected to house the greater the heat generated and the more important it is to use the landscape to insulate the environment as much as possible. This can be done by (1) shading built structures – with trees, vines, plant walls, screens and covered walkways, (2) planning and planting for transpiration and evaporation to maximise the cooling potential of our landscapes (3) avoiding overuse of both plants and built materials that contribute to the Albedo effect.

In addition,architects should be encouraged to work with garden designers to incorporate the effective use plants for shade and insulation into building design, and to allow sufficient area for water capture and storage. For maximum efficiency landscaping should be designed in conjunction with the building design to ensure that there is an effective use of space on the land. If the building and the landscape are designed in tandem less space will be required to landscape effectively, however effective landsacping will require the use of some space on the block.

Some arid garden designs, popular over recent years because of water restrictions, raise local temperatures. The focus needs to move to water efficient gardens, where water is sourced from sources other than mains or bore water, designed with plantings that shade structures and provide cooling through transpiration and evaportation.

Currently, there is neither a landscaping policy nor any landscaping aims in the green paper in respect of commercial or residential properties or streetscapes and parks.

Land use and forest policy

The 2008 McKinsey and Co report suggests massive cuts in emissions can be achieved by avoiding further land-clearing and deforestation which, coupled with rapid widespread tree-planting programs, could provide one of the cheapest ways for Australia to offset its greenhouse emissions.

Greater consideration needs to be given to the use of land for emissions cuts (e.g. carbon sinks). For this to occur we need to see significant investment in planting trees, improved land management, and stopping deforestation.

The government should be aware of research by Clive McAlpine et al. linking deforestation on the eastern Coast of Australia with loss of rainfall. This research has impacts both for rural and urban land use. Dr McAlpine’s findings suggests that large scale clearance of native vegetation is increasing the adverse impacts of the drought and this is severely affecting Australia’s already stressed natural resources and agriculture. His research also reveals that droughts are possibly getting hotter and longer as a result of land clearing. Feedbacks to the climate system from deforestation is significant, and Dr McAlpine says land clearing could be having as great an effect on climate change as green house gases.

To help reduce deforestation, the Victorian Government should introduce mandatory labelling for wood products to indicate whether wood sources are sustainably or non-sustainably harvested. In addition, labelling of palm oil is urged, since deforestation in the mid-latitudes is causing critical damage to the habitat, particualry that of orangutans, and effecting the climate and local ecosystems. This should be complimented by legislation to ban the importation of non-plantation timber from South east Asia that is not sustainably harvested eg Merbau and Teak.

Forests should be categorised forests not only on age but also according to the biodiversity they contribute to. At present in Victoria, many 150 year old growth trees are not currently classfied as valuable even through they support rich biodiversity. Old Growth Forest should not be logged at all, and all significant habitat should be protected. Efforts need to be improved to enhance the integration of wildlife corridors. Logging should be banned in catchment areas.

Greater transparency is needed in relation to forestry decision-making in Victoria. Reporting mechanisms are currently insufficient and inadequate community participation in decision-making means Victoria’s forests are not being managed in a transparent manner. This needs to be addressed.


Waste management must be dramtically improved to increase the waste resources avaiable for recycling and to limit the damage to ecosystems through the accumulation and expansion of landfill sites. Eforts must be made to capture waste gas from landfill for energy use.

Improved regulation of regulation of waste is needed, with cradle to grave obligations developed for all goods manufactured in Australia. Recycling should be mandatory in all settings – commercial, insitutional, and households.

Non-recyclable materials should attract a tax, and recycling of all materials promoted through subsidies. This could be encouraged by the collection of bottles though a scheme like in South Australia, and that which has been introduced into the Victorian as a private member’s bill for a 10c returnable deposit on all disposable drink containers in Victoria.

Incentives should be provided to encourage companies to re-use their bottles rather than smash and reform which is much more energy intensive.In addition, demolotion of houses and buildings should be obliged to reclaim reusable materials (lights, windows, bricks, weatehrboards, beams etc) as a conditon of a demolition permit.

Community education iniatives are important, and better publicity is needd to inform people about taking batteries and spent compact fluorescent bulbs to a hazardous waste collection facility. Initiatives such as those which allow for exchange of products such as compact fluorescents shouod be promoted.

Plastic bags should be discouraged through the imposition of a price on all plastic bags, and the revenue returned to initiatives/services which are working to reduce waste.

Provision of incentives is needed to encourage the collection of waste, since some waste sorting is not currently economical because land-fill is so cheap. This could be addressed either by making make the cost of landfill significantly higher or give incentives to emerging waste management businesses.

Waste from modern agricultural practices is causing considerable environmental damage, particularly that of nitrogen and phosphorus origins, with much nitrogen endeding up in waterways, polluting waterways and coastal zones, as well as adding considerable quantities of nitrous oxide, a significant greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Nitrate fertilisers should be substituted by brown coal as an effective soil humus enricher sequestering carbon. Phosphorus is also used in fertilizer as well as domestic products such as toothpaste and is causing anoxia of sea water when it reaches the ocean.

Green jobs

A recent report from Environment Victoria analysed the potential for increasing jobs in the solar, rail, recycling and wind industries, and found the establishment of modest incentives would lead to the creation of 23,260 new jobs.

Encouraging just 30% of Victorian households to install solar hot water could potentially create 1500 jobs over the next decade. This could be achieved through the mandatory phasing out of hot water, the use of rebates, and the development of building, water and energy efficiency standards.

Creating a requirement for mandatory local manufacturing content (as occurs in the US, EU, Canada and China) for the new trains and trams Victoria will purchase in the period from 2008-2012 has the potential to create 8550 fulltime jobs.

Retrofitting Victorian homes to improve their energy and water efficiency over the next two and a half years could create 6900 jobs (as well as reduce emissions by three million tonnes and save 32,500 litres of water each year).

Despite a high level of community awareness about the need to reduce emissions through responsible use of resources, only 62% of potentially recyclable material is recovered. Increasing this recovery rate to 80% (and improving recycling of electronic waste) could create 2310 jobs.

The establishment of a national renewable energy target will create an additional 4000 jobs by 2010.

Another recent report estimates 26,200 new jobs will be created nationally if all planned clean energy projects went ahead. This estimate is considered conservative, as it does not include jobs created through energy efficiency measures, or large scale solar projects allowed for in the 2009/10 federal budget. These jobs have significant potential economic benefit for Victoria, with 4,346 jobs expected to be created in the state, supported by investments of almost $8 billion. Over the next ten years renewable energy output is expected to grow by over 200% in Victoria, and many jobs in this sector will be created in regional areas.

The growth in clean technology and global shift to low or zero emissions technologies suggest that the risk of carbon leakage threatened by high emission industries will not be realised. It is unlikely to eventuate even in the short term as the costs of relocation are very high, there is a shortage of skilled labour elsewhere, so the suggestion that Australian or Victorian businesses will move offshore when a carbon price is introduced is unlikely to occur.

The evidence that Austalia is being left behind in the race for a green economy is already begining to mount. A new report released in September 200 demonstrates that Australia ranks last among wealthy countries in being ready to compete in a clean energy future, due to the continued support for fossil fuel industries. In an foreword to the report by London-based consultants Vivid Economics, Sir Nichloas Stern, warns that countries which don’t quickly seize the opportunity to invest in clean energy and a low carbon economy will “undermine their future competitiveness”.

Victoria has the opportunity to become a renewable energy and low carbon technology hub if it chooses to do so, however time is short, and this must occur very soon if we are not to be left as a twentieth century economy with energy resources for which there is no global market – according to the Vivid report, global investment in clean energy last year outstripped investment in fossil fuel technology. This demonstrates that shifting to renewables is the best thing we could do for the Latrobe Valley in terms of long term job security.

The focus on wind power in the Green Paper is welcome, as is the urgency of maintaining planning laws to allow for quick easements of power lines and necessary wind and alternative energy infrastructure.

The position of the minister as the responsible authority for making decisions at first instance for wind power should be maintained, and the planning minister should further insert as a mandatory condition into the planning scheme that he/she will be the responsible authority for all alternative energy projects and infrastructure of importance. There is simply too much green infrastructure being delayed by means of NIMBY (Not in my backyard) opposition.

Other issues to address: More funds for zero carbon technology innovation (and implementation) research are needed; as are more incentives for businesses to cut emissions.


Water security is already a huge problem, making action on climate change mitigation even more important for Victoria.

People within the urban area of Melbourne should be encouraged to transform the landscape into 5 star landscape to insulate the environment. This means using plants for shade and transpiration, treating the soil in such a way as maximises its capacity stay damp, including water features and pools, particularly in multistorey living areas, avoiding the use of unshaded built surfaces in landscape, avoiding paving that drains into the stormwater, and being aware and limiting the use of of plants and built surfaces that contribute to the albedo effect. To maximise the potnential of the soil to remin damp for as long as possible over the summer will require the use of mulch and water (tank/grey/water ). The Government should consider a sliding scale of tank rebates to encourage homeowners to install tanks where the water is for garden use only where it is too expensive to adapt existing plumping to tank water supplemenation.

Soft Drink Manufacturers use about three times the volume of water to produce a litre of product (reference Cocoa-Cola) These water intensive hydration companies result in the dehydration of our fresh water supplies. Much use in industry for water is for cleaning. Recycled water would surely be a palatable alternative if you choose not to drink it. After all fresh drinking water needs only 1% of the total produced. Have real targets for water use. 148 litres a day as Melbourne’s current water consumption is too high. The campaign asks for 155 per day. Of all of our friends who are interested in climate change, the least people use is about 70 litres per person per day and the most about 150 per day. An exponential increase in price for high users is requested and also high users should bear the cost of and infrastructure changes because they are part of the problem. Industry should pay the same amount as the consumer. The consumer is constantly hit in the target for reductions whereas industry is not. There are no penalties for power station using clean drinking water.

Changing behaviour in communities across Victoria

Levels of climate science literacy in the community are generally poor and the Victorian government needs to do a great deal more to explain the risks we face and the consequences of inaction, or inadequate action. If the Victorian community is to treat climate change seriously then the government must do the same. Leaders do not wait for others to act first. People will only treat climate change seriously if they are shown a serious example -therefore the government must do everything it can to act to address climate change and publicise that it is doing so.

There are not only challenges however; there are tremendous opportunties offered by teh transition to a zero carbon economy for jurisdictions that create the policy settings to take advantage of that. You can’t win by starting last.

Adoption of Micro Measures – Cheap, Cost Reducing or Same Price Options that Involve a Shift In behaviour

There are many ‘micro’ measures as well as bigger picture issues that need to be addressed. In isolation these will not address climate change but it is important to do everything possible, and the government shoud be sending the message that “we are prepared to do everything possible”. This has the following advantages: 1) has a small impact which is better than no impact 2) involves shifting the way government thinks about its behaviour 3) involves altering its behaviour. The more the government can change its behaviour and alter its approach to ‘business as usual’ the stronger the message to the people that they can and should do the same.

Community trust in the government is undermined when the government appears to “set aside” climate change issues. Every time the government dismisses an environmental impact statement, or frames the terms of reference in such a way as to hamstring the effectiveness of the impact statement, it sends the community a message that climate change isn’t really that important and this impacts not their motivation to change their own behaviour to cut emissions. Other examples include when the government announces a major project and does not refer to any energy saving measures included in the project. One specific example is the Building in Schools Project: there has been no information as to whether the 6 building plans available to Government Schools are 5 star energy rated, or better or worse. This example is a particularly disappointing one because Government Schools are used by most families in the community, and these buildings could have showcased passive energy efficiency and other energy saving measures. This would have sent the message that this is a normal consideration when building. Instead the message sent was: it is more important to build quickly than to adapt to climate change.

Other methods of communicating with the community and empowering them to act on climate change is schools newsletters. It is suggested these are used to communicate green living hints, about living more sustainably and with less impact on the planet which is desirable even without the prospect of climate change.

A series of new advertising campaigns should be considered to target particular behaviours. The black balloons campaign has been effective; however there are many other areas that could also be addressed.

Two examples are offered as suggestions:

1 The ‘bargain shopper’. Marketers know that individuals tend to follow certain sets of behaviours in their shopping habits. One set is the ‘bargain shopper’ for whom a only a cheap product or bargain is a smart buy. But even within this class of shopper you can prompt change. Here is an example of an advertisement:

Advertising Campaign aimed at Bargain Shoppers A Dad, in very white and clinical kitchen, is unpacking goods from plastic bags: brown and white packages with labels such as ‘tinned fruit 100,000+ food miles’ ‘special high salt and phosphorus washing powder’ ‘extra packaged biscuits’ ‘ordinary water in a bottle’ and ‘bug spray’. Small child ‘Look Buggy’ points to a digitally enhanced and very beautiful butterfly. Dad picks up the bug spray and zaps it (butterfly dies cartoon style death). Pause White screen, sound effect of child starting wailing. Comment ‘Green choices aren’t dumb’.

2. Cleaning Product use within the home.

It is unfortunate, but true, that many people believe that if a little cleaning chemical is good then more is better and so they use more than the recommended amount to wash clothes, dishes and surfaces within the home. They empty they excess water and chemical, and rinse cleaning cloths soaked in neat cleaning product into the sewage. The result is water the water that arrives at the treatment plants is laden with unnecessary chemicals and costs more for everyone to treat.

What is needed is a campaign to turn put people in a position where they regard their use of cleaning products from a different viewpoint. Here is an example of such an advertisement:

A different perspective on cleaning products and waste water – visuals show the inside of a factory while a voice over delivers this message: ‘How would you feel about a factory that used twice as much chemicals as it needed to in its processing unit? (Visual shows employee with exaggerated lack of concern measuring out chemical and then adding a good dollop (at least as much again more) How would you feel if the cost of removing those chemicals was born by the whole community in sewage treatment costs? (visuals show bubbling water gurgling down the pipes) How would you feel if that factory could use environmentally safe chemicals for the same price or less but was unwilling to make any changes to the way it always did things? How would you feel if you lived next door? How would you feel if you lived in it?’ (vision of factory spins into picture of suburban home and cleaning equipment).‘Your home is your factory. Do you use the recommended amount of cleaner and no more? Are you aware that because Melbourne has soft water you only need to use ½ the recommended dose of clothes and dishwashing powder? If you are willing to make changes please visit….. (website) for information. Because our decisions add up.’ (Pan out moving up from overhead view of one house to full screen of city roofs.)

Setting an example – how the Victorian Government should lead the way in reducing emissions

The Victorian government should demonstrate leadership, in the smae way other jurisdictions are (eg Scotland) and apply strict standards for the activities for all government departments and agencies with respect to environmental sustainability.

This should be undertaken through:

The establishment of high energy efficiency standards for all government buildings, departments and agencies;

Mandated recycling in all government buildings, departments and agencies;

Purchase of 100% green energy/microgeneration of renewable energy for all government buildings, departments and agencies; and

Mandated water conservation in all government buildings, departments and agencies.

There are many things at a micro level that the government can do as well. For example, it could:

1)Follow the lead of the NSW government and ban the sale of bottled water.

2) Use post consumer recycled paper and recycled office paper & toilet paper.

3) Use fairtrade/locally grown tea and coffee.

4) Ensure that any government canteens have an appealing vegetarian selection.

5) Sell only soft drink that is mixed on site – it is much more efficient to only transport the syrup rather than the pre-mixed drink. Syrups do not have to be limited to commercial soft drinks – cordials can also be mixed with carbonated water.

6) Set the air conditioning and heating to a range that conserves energy.

7) Use environmentally friendly inks.

8) Turn off all but essential lighting at night. This should include tourist lighting – if the government considers some icons are important enough to be lit they should be lit with 100% green energy.

9) Ensure the public service is kept well informed regarding the science of climate change.

10) Use environmentally safe cleaners.

11) Ensure all toilets are water efficient.

Other points

Insurance projections and liability risks are not being considered inGreen Paper .

Some sectors are completely ignored in Green Paper – all are important in reducing emissions, including transport, manufacturing, IT, logistics, food, health, education tourism, and the arts. Govt must outline policy for each sector and identify the responsible government department. Climate change requires cross sectoral, cross departmental responses.

If Government is serious about climate change adaption it needs to be prepared re-assess the cost of population growth. To develop Melbourne to house more people is going to cost more: whether in terms of structures (eg proposed multi-level buildings along transport routes) or in terms of infastructure and new public transport(new suburbs). No attention has been paid to the role of landscape in insulating the urban enviroment nor to the cost of adapting landscape use to allow for this to happen. In addition, building is going to become more expensive because of the need to include water and energy saving devices.

It is often an (apparently) cheap, quick option for the Government to import skilled workers rather than train them here. This does not necessarily reflect the desire among Australians to work in those occupations. For example many students want to do medicine but there are so few places, and we keep importing Doctors. Students are aware of this and it does nothing for their morale to know that the Governemnt would rather rely on migration than educate more of our brightest students in medecine. How much work has been done on assessing whether, for example, the intake could be doubled by having medical classes run in shifts? Hospitals run on shifts, afterall.

If the Government can predict where there will be a demand in jobs in 6 years time it needs to be communicating this to schools, so that when students enter high school they can have an idea about what subjects are going to lead to jobs. The degree of enthusiasm, and consequent achievement, in a subject varies with the perception of its relevance amongst students. Many students will have discounted science as a pathway before they reach upper high school: by that stage it is too late because students attidudes and view of their achievement in science are already set.

Overall the idea of talking to the community about Climate Change needs more attention. Look at US precedence here.


Victoria should become an advocate for responsible climate policy to demonstrate leadership to the rest of Australia.


The need for strong effective policy action, underpiined by legislation which: provides predictability for business; provides guaranteed outcomes for the community (reduced emissions); is an act of risk management for the state; promotes long term investment. It must be is fair, and ensures accountability (provided it has strong reporting and auditing mechanisms included). Must also allow the govt to address any legislative inconsistencies that may interfere with compliance with the new regulations.

In a transition to a zero emissions economy, Lighter Footprints does not support compensation for industries that have failed to prepare for the introduction of a carbon cost. These organisations must accept their failure to prepare to transition to low carbon economy was a commercial risk for which the consequences are their commercial reality.