Anthropogenic (caused by humans) climate change is a major global environmental issue.
The Earth’s climate has changed over the last century. Warming of the climate system is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.
Increases in average temperatures have been seen around the globe and there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed in the last 50 years is due to human activities.
Climate change will alter global and local climates. In Victoria, this means a warmer and drier future, with an increasing likelihood of more extreme events such as heatwaves, bushfires and storms.
All Victorians can play an important part in contributing to this action, which will help our environment and our economy.
EPA's role in regulating greenhouse gas emissions
We recognise that Victoria's legislated long-term target of net zero emissions by 2050 and the process for setting five-yearly interim targets to keep Victoria on track to meet it, are important steps towards addressing climate change.
As the state's environmental regulator, EPA has been an advocate for effective action and will implement the Victorian Government's direction on climate change.
Following the establishment of interim emissions reduction targets for Victoria, the Government will identify appropriate policy instruments to deliver these targets, including determining when EPA regulation is appropriate.
We note that the Government has established an independent expert panel to provide advice on interim targets and potential opportunities for meeting them, and will consider the panel's findings, and the Government's response to them.
In the meantime, EPA will continue to consider climate change in its decision making by ensuring best practice design of new facilities and a risk-prevention approach to environmental hazards is taken. This includes demonstrating best practice management of greenhouse gas emissions as required by the State Environment Protection Policy (Air Quality Management).
The Climate Change Act 2017 also requires EPA to consider climate change in relation to a range of decisions including the issue of works approvals and licences. EPA must consider the potential impacts of a changing climate on the proposal, and the potential contribution the proposal will have to the state's greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change projections for Victoria
Information on potential climate change impacts to Victoria can be found in Protecting our future environment in a changing climate (publication 1293). This contains information on predicted changes to the Victorian climate (at the time of publication) and potential impacts arising from future changes to the climate. For more up to date climate change projection information, refer to the Victorian Government's Climate Ready Fact Sheets and Regional Data Sheets (DELWP).
Additional climate change projections for Victorian data sets
Consideration of climate change by EPA
For more information on how EPA considers climate change in its decision making: