Experts are calling for 'bold and ambitious' emissions reduction targets as the government prepares to make its next move to meet its target of zero-net emissions by 2050.
The zero-net emissions target was set when the Andrews Labor government strengthened its Climate Change Act in 2017.
The act requires the government to set interim Emissions Reduction Targets every five years, with the first target (2025 to 2030) to be set by March 31 next year.
The government recently released research from an independent panel, chaired by former Federal Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet, into emissions cuts in Victoria and will use the research to inform its decision on how ambitious the interim Emissions Reduction Targets will be.
According to analysis by Friends of the Earth, Victoria is on track to meet its voluntary commitment of reducing emissions by 15-20 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 but is not on track to meet the legislated target of zero-net emissions by 2050.
Leigh Ewbank of Friends of the Earth said the government must be "bold and ambitious" in setting targets to cut emissions.
"The Victorian Labor government is already kicking goals on renewables, but we now need to show climate leadership by setting science-based Emissions Reduction Targets," he said.
"It's expected that strong Emissions Reduction Targets will put upward pressure on the Victorian Renewable Energy Target and encourage job creation in the Ballarat region."
Victoria must reach zero emissions as quickly as possible to help the globe avoid catastrophic climate impacts. A heavy lift now will make it cheaper and easier for Victoria in the long term.Leigh Ewbank
According to a government report, future weather patterns in the Grampians region will see temperatures continue to increase year round with fewer frosts and less rainfall, but when it does rain, it will be an intense downpour. It also indicates more heatwaves, harsher fire weather and longer fire seasons.
Tim Baxter, fellow at Melbourne Law School and Associate at the Climate and Energy College, said Victoria would eventually meet its target, assuming a linear trajectory, but would not reach zero-net emissions until about 2062.
He said the suggested targets within the report were not quite enough to reach the 1.5C commitment, but were a great start.
Victoria's biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy sector, with electricity generation accounting for almost half of the states emissions.
But Mr Baxter said Australia, and Victoria, has huge potential to reduce emissions because of the amount of resources it has, from sun, to wind and minerals.
There's really nothing about Australia that makes it difficult for us to reduce our emissions apart from politics.Tim Baxter
"In reality net zero means just that so everything in the state is going to have to be reduced to zero or offset with something else. Everything has to come down - reducing emissions from gas heating, heavy industry and electricity."
Mr Baxter said there were so many exciting projects getting off the ground, like a project around sequestering carbon in soil, so it absorbs more CO2, on agricultural land.
"One thing Australia has in spades is a whole lot of land. So if we can work out ways to manage that land that avoids or sequesters greenhouse gas emissions, thats going to be a massive benefit to us at the end of the day," he said.
But there are many other opportunities we should be seizing, from building a battery industry, to setting vehicle emissions standards to de-carbonising electricity, which he believes could be done in a decade with the right policies, and creating a hydrogen industry, it would, at a small short-term cost, save Victoria a lot of money in the long term and create new jobs in that process.
"We have all of these great opportunities on one side of the coin and if we dont realise that potential, the other side is terrifying. Its all well and good to be hopeful and push for these opportunities but at the end of the day, the impact on Victoria -on bushfire, drought, rainfall - are all just not worth going down that path.
The safest pathway to reach 1.5 degrees is for the whole world to be well on the way to halving emissions by 2030.
"1.5C is what is said to be a safe climate but it is still bad. We are still talking about most of the coral reef around the world dying and about 60% of commercial fish stocks rely on coral at one point in their life cycle," Mr Baxter said.
"It is pretty dire and we need to be ambitious with this. We have everything that we need in order to do it except for ambitious politicians."
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio said reducing emissions would grow the economy, create jobs and drive down power prices.
"We will work with industry, unions, environmental groups and the wider community in delivering on these targets and taking real action on climate change," she said.