DOZENS of people gathered at community-owned Hepburn Wind on Saturday morning, calling for science-based Emissions Reduction Targets from the state government.
Gathering in front of the iconic Gale and Gusto turbines, 180 people travelled from across the Hepburn Shire and surrounding regions to attend.
Arranging themselves to spell out " 1.5°C", it was a call for the Andrews government to aim for a safe climate when it decides on its Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025-30.
While there is significant grassroots action taking place in the Hepburn Shire for the community to reach zero-net emissions by 2030, both organisers and attendees on Saturday want to see the state government follow suit.
"Keeping global warming below 1.5°C is the key goal of our local climate policy and the Hepburn Shire's Z-NET Plan. We need it to be Victoria's goal too," General Manager of Hepburn Wind, Taryn Lane said.
She said the inspiration to send the message through a human sign was that simple, playful actions can send a powerful message.
Since Hepburn Shire's Z-Net plan was launched in April 2019, a number of initiatives have been realised including a solar and battery bulk buy and the Hepburn Wind solar farm development.
This month several new programs will also launch, including an energy efficiency audit and retrofit support program as well as an electric vehicle bulk buy program.
The next steps in the 10-year plan to make Hepburn Shire a zero net emission community will involve branching out to transport initiatives, targeting energy efficiency to reduce demand and engaging new sectors in the program such as farming.
Ms Lane said bushfires which had burnt across the landscape and subsequent hazardous smoke haze which had blanketed parts of Victoria were evidence that climate impacts already exist and are affecting communities.
"The summer bushfires demonstrate that we're already experiencing dangerous climate change impacts. Our community is taking action but much more is needed and this is why the Andrews government needs to step up," she said.
Event partner Friends of the Earth has coordinated a three year community campaign for more ambitious climate targets.
Coordinator Leigh Ewbank said a lack of policy at a national level warranted greater leadership from Victoria.
"With the Morrison government failing to tackle the climate crisis at the national level, we need the Premier to show greater leadership. And that means setting science-based climate targets for Victoria" he said.
Community groups will continue to call for science-based emissions reduction targets until legislation day on March 31.
It is expected that the government will announce the targets this May.
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