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Local Action – Carbon neutral councils and businesses in Melbourne

Posted in Models, Movements, Visions by Ferne Edwards on July 24th, 2007

Posted on the email listserve, Greenleap, was this article by Matthew Wright from the independent action group, Beyond Zero Emissions. Although posted back in April, this article tracks some of the recent uptake of local Councils and businesses in Melbourne who are responding to climate change by taking the carbon neutral pledge. Read on for a summary of recent action with links at the end of the article for more information. This post also serves as an excellent complement to an earlier article written on this site, click here.

Zero In On Good Council
Matthew Wright, Beyond Zero Emissions
10 April 07 – Melbourne, Australia

Australian local governments are at the forefront of widespread institutional solutions to combat the catastrophic effects of climate change, seizing the opportunity to lead with Zero Emissions targets and local action plans.

Whilst Federal Government is blind to the urgency, local councillors are envisaging collective futures based on renewable energies and ecologically sustainable development. The public has awoken to the dire consequences of climate change and local councillors have taken note.

Melbourne City Council have adopted a target of zero net emissions by 2020. The Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA), comprising 14 regional local governments as well as businesses and community organisations, have also pledged to reduce emissions to net zero by 2020. The Shire of Yarra Ranges in Melbourne’s outer North East pledged to spend $790,000 in 2007 alone to in a bid to become carbon neutral within 12 months.

City of Melbourne Councillor Fraser Brindley says “it is blindingly obvious that we need to cut carbon emissions. Council is showing that it is not only practically possible but politically possible to head towards a carbon neutral world.”

“Seeing this local action in context proves that the major parties at the State and Federal levels need to catch up to policy innovations being achieved in local government” said Beyond Zero Emission’s spokesman Matt Wright.

In each case local governments gain a comprehensive survey of energy consumption across their municipality, and so are equipped to target excesses (quickly reducing the overall consumption) to ease pressure through more efficient practice and standards for future consumption.

Councillor and former Mayor of the Shire of Maribyrnong Janet Rice comments on her shire’s plan to adopt net zero emissions: “[Maribyrnong Council] feels that it’s the moral thing to do in light of the latest scientific knowledge. It’s clear that we need to have drastic reductions across the world in CO2 emissions. In our council ¦ we want to empower our communities to do the same.”

These initiatives have been taken up concurrently across the globe, with places like British Columbia in Canada aiming for 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 and legislating a target of net zero emissions for their energy sector by 2016.

“The opportunities are endless” says Mr Wright. “Australia’s local governments have enabled richly innovative and organically occurring networks of technical and information sharing to support other municipalities, who are themselves realising their readiness to take on the challenges.”

“Local councils are laying down the challenge to the Federal and State Governments to act now on Climate Change

For more information check out:
City of Melbourne Zero Net Emissions by 2020 Strategy
http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=1179

Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance Striving for net zero emissions by 2020
http://www.cvga.org.au/main/

CSIRO helping CVGA go Zero
http://www.csiro.au/files/mediaRelease/mr2003/Prenergyzero.htm

City West Water – Water Retailer to go carbon neutral by June 30, 2007
http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/water-authority-puts-carbon-emissions-in-neutral/2007/03/25/1174761280545.html

Matt Wright, www.beyondzeroemissions.org
Beyond Zero Emissions is an independent Zero Emission Minus Climate Change campaign

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