Victoria's poor and disadvantaged communities face an insurmountable financial challenge as the state attempts to tackle climate change, a new report says.
The Victorian Council of Social Service fears vulnerable groups, including people in public housing, and Aboriginal, rural and coastal communities, risk being left behind in the fight against global warming.
"If you are struggling to keep up with day-to-day expenses, protecting yourself from the impacts of climate change can be an insurmountable challenge," the council's A Climate of Fairness report, to be released on Monday says.
Council chief executive Emma King says the state government should scrap moves to make renters chip in for solar panels, under a planned tenant-landlord loan and rebate scheme.
"There shouldn't be any up-front cost to renters if a landlord wants to upgrade their investment property," Ms King said.
The co-payment forces tenants to pay for an upgrade to a house they don't own, while the landlord scoops up the improved capital value, the council argues.
Also among VCOSS' 21 recommendations to protect poorer Victorians is a call to expand subsidies to help make low-income households more energy efficient.
Ms King says while moves to combat and mitigate the effects of global warming can't wait, they must not come at the expense of society's vulnerable.
"If we respond to climate change in a way that is unfair, we'll be punishing the people who can least afford it: the sick, the poor and the socially isolated," she said.
The Victorian Environment Department said it was helping people adapt to the "very real impacts of a changing climate".
"This includes providing support to address the financial, health and social impacts of climate change on our communities," a departmental spokesperson said.
"We are working with community organisations, financial councillors and health professionals to identify opportunities to support communities and families access energy and health concessions, food banks and home energy efficiency upgrades."
Australian Associated Press