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It’s no secret that our federal government is failing to address the threat of dangerous climate change. The repeal of the Carbon Tax, coupled with repeated attacks on renewable energy, mean the climate crisis is getting worse while we do less and less to address it.

State governments may be able to bridge some of the gap by acting to bring in their own climate legislation.

Our recent proposal for a Victorian Climate Charter shows a potential way forward. As the state with the developed world’s most polluting power station, Victoria is well placed to take state-based action on climate change.

Environmental Justice Australia drafted this groundbreaking citizen’s Climate Charter

The Climate Charter sets up a legal framework that, if adopted, would make Victoria a world leader on climate change. It will ensure Victoria can significantly reduce its emissions, and make its best effort to adapt to unavoidable climate impacts.

Its intent is summed up in its preamble:

We, the people of Victoria, recognise the overwhelming threat that climate change poses to our State, our country and the world. We are committed to taking responsibility for our State’s contribution to climate change. We recognise that this is a responsibility shared by all levels of Government, the community and industry, and each must play its part. Victoria is committed to being a climate leader and to taking strong action to reduce greenhouse emissions to ensure environmental justice is achieved for current and future generations.

The Charter includes emission reduction targets which the Government is legally required to meet, a ‘climate test’ which prevents Government from ignoring the target, and power for Victorian citizens to take the Government to court if it doesn’t comply with its own climate laws.

Imagine what could happen if all Australian states adopted legislation like this.

See the full Climate Charter for more details.