Cutting emissions and building resilience to climate change

The Victorian Government is taking strong and lasting action to reduce Victoria’s emissions to net zero by 2050 and build resilient communities prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Victoria was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to legislate a net-zero emissions target with the Climate Change Act 2017 and set a strong foundation for future climate resilience with action under Victoria’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2017–20. The Victorian Government also committed to reducing Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by 15-20 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Victoria has already benefitted from climate action. For example, households are saving money with more efficient appliances and cheaper renewable energy

Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy

Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy sets out the Victorian Government’s current action on climate change and our next steps. It outlines opportunities for Victorians to save money, to work and to grow innovative businesses.

Victoria’s emissions reduction targets

Victoria's Climate Change Act 2017 establishes a long-term target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with five-yearly interim emissions reduction targets. The Victorian Government's foundational target was for emissions in 2020 to be 15–20% below 2005 levels.

The latest emissions data shows that this target has been exceeded. In 2019, emissions fell to 24.8% below 2005 levels. Official emissions data for 2020 will be published in 2022.

Building on our success so far, the Climate Change Strategy sets the following targets to cut the state's emissions:

  • 28–33% for 2025 below 2005 levels
  • 45–50% by 2030 below 2005 levels

These targets are ambitious yet achievable. The targets provide certainty for investors and the business community and will help create jobs in clean energy, land restoration, zero-emissions transport, and the circular economy. Victoria’s 2030 target confirms our position among leading jurisdictions around the world, such as the United States and the European Union.

The next target, for 2035, will be set in 2023. You can read more about Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Working together to cut emissions

Reaching our emissions reduction targets will take action by governments, businesses, and the community.

To help drive this action, the Victorian Government has developed pledges which outline the actions we will take to cut emissions from each sector and from the Victorian Government’s own operations. The first pledge period is from 2021 to 2025, and we will make these pledges every 5 years until Victoria achieves net-zero emissions.

Many of Victoria’s local governments have also shown leadership and submitted council emissions reduction pledges.

Victoria’s emissions reduction pledges

This pledge will deliver foundational actions that will ensure farmers are preparing to achieve emissions reductions towards 2030. New technologies and practices will be tested for the Victorian context, and farmers will be supported to use information and tools that will help to realise emissions reduction opportunities on-farm.

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This pledge will accelerate Victoria's transition to a clean and efficient energy future, ensuring that 50% of Victoria's electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030. 778,500 households will receive rebates for solar panels, solar hot water systems and batteries, and 15,000 small businesses will receive rebates for solar panels.

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This pledge will improve the maintenance and management of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment to reduce leakage of refrigerant gases.

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This pledge reflects that from 2030 commercial native timber harvesting in Victoria’s state forests will cease – protecting an area of native forest greater than the landmass of Tasmania. The pledge will also lead to the restoration of degraded landscapes and the planting of up to 30 million trees, helping to remove emissions from the atmosphere.

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This pledge will accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by setting a 50% ZEV target for all new light-vehicle sales by 2030.

A $100 million package of new policies and programs will ensure Victoria is a leader in the adoption of ZEVs in Australia and position the state to take full advantage of the emerging global shift towards this new technology.

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This pledge will halve the amount of organic waste going to landfill by 2030 while supporting emerging waste and recycling industries and economic opportunities across the state.

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This pledge will see all Victorian Government operations – including schools, hospitals and metropolitan trains and trams – powered by 100% renewable electricity by 2025. We will also cut emissions with more energy-efficient buildings and infrastructure and bring 400 ZEVs into the government fleet by 2023.

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Victoria’s adaptation priorities

Reducing our emissions will help lessen the impact of climate change, but it will not prevent it – some degree of climate change is already locked in. Adapting to the impacts of climate change and managing current and future risks is critical to building resilience in our communities and securing a healthy and prosperous future for all Victorians.

Adapting to the impacts of climate change will be complex, interdependent, and different for every community, business, and household. A comprehensive response to climate change, therefore, requires action that is tailored to the diverse regions across Victoria, while driving climate adaptation efforts across state-wide systems that are either vulnerable to climate change impacts or are essential to ensure Victoria is prepared.

The Climate Change Strategy sets out the Victorian Government’s priorities to address current climate change impacts, reduce barriers to adaptation, and lay the foundations for transformational adaptation.

Priorities to address current climate change impacts

Key focus areas

Capacity building and partnershipsGovernance and strategic planningSustainable adaptation financeLeadership and innovation
Victorian Government, businesses and communities will work together towards a shared vision for adaptation. Knowledge will be widely shared, and the state will partner with others to support learning and change across the state. The state’s governance arrangements will support decision making in the face of future challenges and uncertainty, enable collaboration and promote learning and experimentation. Victoria’s state and local governments and the private sector work together to enable access to adaptation finance and ensure climate change risks are accounted for in financial decisions, products and services. The Victorian Government will lead and collaborate with leaders and innovators across communities, industries and other governments to achieve transformational adaptation.

Address current climate change impacts

Support place-based adaptation including effective and inclusive community participation and empowerment, with special emphasis on vulnerable communities. Embed climate change adaptation into emergency management and disaster preparedness, response and recovery, particularly to protect the most vulnerable. Address gaps in insurance coverage for public assets and key infrastructure at risk from climate change impacts. Transparently communicate to all Victorians the challenges, opportunities and trade-offs required under climate change.
 Adopt best-practice climate risk management across all portfolios, including all funded agencies and service operations.   

Reduce barriers to adaptation

Establish a climate change adaptation capacity building program, including fit-for-purpose climate science information, knowledge brokering and collaborative networks. Monitor, evaluate, report and improve climate change adaptation by developing and implementing a long-term framework based on state-wide risk assessments.

Integrate climate change risk management into investment decisions particularly for large and long-lived investments. Drive adaptation leadership across government and the community, including empowering youth.

Ensure relevant legislation, standards and codes support the use of best available climate change data and adaptive planning principles as part of decision making, particularly as it relates to infrastructure, development and land use changes. Demonstrate the benefits and business case for, climate change adaptation action.  

Lay the foundations for transformational adaptation

Partner with Traditional Owners, Registered Aboriginal Parties and other Aboriginal communities to ensure their cultural, ecological and economic values and expertise are integrated into climate change adaptation planning. Identify the transformational changes needed and develop effective change management strategies, ensuring all voices are heard. Support the development of new and innovative climate change adaptation finance models. Lead innovative trials and pilot projects that test transformational adaptation approaches, learning from them to inform future practice.
Incorporate climate change considerations into education, training and re-skilling.    

Download Victoria’s Adaptation Objectives and Priorities 2021-25.

Guided by the Climate Change Strategy, the Victorian Government is planning for climate impacts and delivering adaptation action at a state, regional and local scale.

  • At a state scale – we are preparing Adaptation Action Plans to build our climate resilience in areas either vulnerable to climate change impacts or essential to ensure Victoria is prepared. These areas or ‘systems’are Primary Production, Built Environment, Education and Training,Health and Human Services, Transport, Natural Environment and the Water Cycle.
  • At a regional scale – we are supporting the development of Regional Adaptation Strategies in partnership with regional stakeholders and communities to identify, prioritise and deliver place-based climate change adaptation action informed by local knowledge and needs. These strategies are being developed in each of the six DELWP regions of Greater Melbourne, Gippsland, Hume, Loddon Mallee, Grampians and Barwon South West.
  • At a local scale – we are supporting strategic actions to build the adaptive capacity of Victorian local governments and community groups to understand and address the risks posed by climate change to local communities.

Victorian Government action on climate change resources

To learn more about the action being taken by the Victorian Government on climate change, check out the following resources:

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Page last updated: 21/12/21