Cities call for action on climate targets

The City of Melbourne is considering fast-tracking initiatives that have the most impact to reduce carbon emission, while calling on State and Federal Governments to take greater action.

On Tuesday, Councillors will consider a range of possible actions as a result of declaring a Climate Emergency last year, including:

  • reaching Council’s zero emissions target for the municipality 10-years earlier by 2040
  • moving all Council operations out of fossil fuels such as gas and petrol
  • fast-tracking the delivery of 44 kilometres of protected bike lanes
  • stimulating circular economy solutions for waste
  • developing a policy to provide rates incentive for energy efficient buildings. 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the catastrophic bushfires show time is running out and we need coordinated action from all levels of government.

“Sydney has just endorsed a new target for zero emissions by 2040 and Melbourne is looking to do the same,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Cities are driving change but we need a strong national response to pull the big levers of reform to meet the nation’s Paris commitments and put Australia on the road to zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“The City of Melbourne has a strong track record of taking action to reduce our carbon emissions and we acknowledge that more needs to be done.

“We have reduced emissions from the City of Melbourne’s operations by more than 50 per cent in six years and we are accredited as being carbon neutral. We are hoping to achieve similar impacts across the municipality through collaborating with the private sector and other levels of government.”

Research shows that Melbourne can expect 20 per cent less rainfall by 2050 along with more heatwaves and lower air quality. Climate change is estimated to cost our local economy $12.6 billion by 2050, and impact agriculture, tourism, insurance and finance.

“Higher temperatures and extreme weather events will have an impact on all of us,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Trees, such as our elms and even some indigenous eucalypts, will struggle to grow in drought conditions – higher temperatures mean we could lose 35 per cent of the city’s trees in the next 20 years.”

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Cathy Oke said the Victorian and Australian Governments need to commit to a 1.5°C science-based target in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

“If temperatures rise above 1.5°C then the wellbeing of current and future generations is at risk,” Cr Oke said.

“While we’ve taken strong action to reduce emissions, including to power our buildings with 100 per cent renewable electricity, we must accelerate action and be even more ambitious.”

“In declaring a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency we acknowledged that we must accelerate our efforts, and look at all areas where Council can make at the most impact. This includes moving away from using gas in Council buildings such as our pools and libraries and in new developments.”  

A recent Deloitte poll found that 83 per cent of Australian business leaders thought tackling climate change was their generation’s responsibility, representing the highest average worldwide.

More than 1,300 councils across 26 countries have made a climate emergency declaration – including Sydney, London, Paris, Auckland and Vancouver.

The Lord Mayor and Cr Oke will open the National Climate Emergency Summit at Melbourne Town Hall on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 February 2020.

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