Geelong now has a Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy

The new strategy provides a target for the City of Greater Geelong council: in three years, by 2020, council must halve carbon emissions from its buildings and vehicle fleet.

With the release of its new Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy for the period 2017–20, the City of Greater Geelong council wants to play its part in reducing the effects of climate change. The zero carbon goal is set to be reached by 2050, though this targets will be subject to review in 2020.

Background

The strategy builds on the City’s Greenhouse Response 2008-11, the Low Carbon Growth Plan from 2011, and a range of energy saving initiatives already carried out by the City Council.

Feedback on emissions reduction opportunities was gathered through 384 completed surveys of the community and council staff, workshops and one-on-one interviews with community and business stakeholders.

“The strategy will drive our corporate and community emissions reduction activities into the future,” said Administrator Peter Dorling – even though the strategy doesn’t actually directly contain a plan for how Geelong’s businesses and residents will be taking up the challenge of becoming carbon-free, let alone setting targets for their emissions.

The Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy is to guide works on seven City of Greater Geelong buildings, including the installation of up to 500kW of solar on buildings at:

• Leisurelink

• the National Wool Museum

• Bellarine Sports and Aquatic Centre

• the Arena

• Anakie Road Depot and

• the Grove Centre

Other actions to meet targets included improving the energy efficiency within the City’s buildings and purchasing carbon offsets in the short term with the intention of transitioning to investing in energy efficiency and renewables.

Innovative partnership projects will be critical to the City meeting longer term emission reduction targets. 

» More information about the Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy
www.geelongaustralia.com.au/zerocarbon

» Download the strategy paper (PDF, 19MB)




Excerpt from ‘Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2017-2020

Considering the constant stream of fake news and misguided articles and letters in local media, it is important to be aware of the context in which this Zero Carbon strategy now exists. Geelong Council summarises it in this way in the strategy pager on page 6:

Climate Change
“The City of Greater Geelong accepts the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consensus that human induced climate change is real and the associated impacts will have an affect in the region, impacts include:

→ a higher risk of bushfires during summer
→ more hot days and heat waves
→ fewer frosts
→ lower average rainfall coupled with an increased intensity of storms
→ higher sea levels, leading to a greater likelihood of coastal inundation and erosion across the region

These impacts present challenges for community wellbeing, health and safety, and could produce a significant economic burden of infrastructure repair, insurance and environmental rehabilitation costs.


Federal policy context
Significant changes in state and federal climate change policy have occurred since the Greenhouse Response 2008-2011 was developed.

The current federal government has repealed the carbon pricing legislation and replaced it with a Direct Action Policy. The Direct Action Policy provides funding for those who can reduce emissions for the lowest cost, and is intended as the key tool to be used to meet Australia’s greenhouse emissions reduction targets.

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) sets a requirement for 20 per cent of Australia’s energy consumption (33,000 gigawatt hours) to be sourced from renewable energy generation by 2020.

In November 2016, the Australian Government ratified the Paris Agreement. The Agreement has been ratified by over one hundred countries and aims to limit average temperature increase to below 2°C and pursue efforts to keep warming below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Ratification of the agreement supports Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.


State policy context
The Victorian Climate Change Act 2010 came into effect in 2011. During 2015/2016, the Victorian state government commenced the development of a Climate Change Action Package, including:

→ a review of the Victorian Climate Change Act
→ the development of a Victorian Climate Change Action Plan
→ the development of a Victorian Renewable Energy Roadmap, and
→ Victoria’s Energy Efficiency and Productivity Statement June 2015.

In January 2017, the Victorian state government announced its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by releasing Victoria’s Climate Change Framework. This framework sets out a long-term plan for achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Key elements of the framework include:

→ legislation of a long-term target for Victoria of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
→ setting a renewable energy target for Victoria for 25 per cent of electricity generated in the state to come from renewable energy by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025
→ launching the Take2 pledge program that the City of Greater Geelong has signed up to as a founding partner. Take2 is Victoria’s collective climate change initiative to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and to keep global temperature rise to under 2 degrees
→ the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme encourages energy efficiency improvements by businesses and industry. The scheme was strengthened in 2015 and set updated targets and long-term aspirations for the scheme.



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Better, cleaner energy means greater prosperity


Report about achievable pathways to low-carbon energy systems

This report from the Energy Transitions Commission “outlines opportunities to halve global carbon emissions by 2040 – but governments, investors and businesses must act now to accelerate energy transitions.”

The report, launched on 25 April 2017, sets out achievable pathways to limit global warming to well below 2°C while stimulating economic development and social progress.

The report argues that we must reduce carbon emissions by half by 2040 (compared to a business as usual scenario) with further cuts thereafter to achieve the Paris climate objective – limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

Simultaneously, we must ensure economic development and access to affordable, sustainable and reliable energy for all, particularly in developing countries. According to the Better Energy, Greater Prosperity report, this is achievable – but business, government and investors must act now to accelerate clean electrification, de-carbonization beyond power and energy productivity improvement.

Topics: Energy policy, Energy resources, Renewable energy sources, Greenhouse gases, Greenhouse gas mitigation, Carbon dioxide mitigation

» Read more on apo.org.au

» Download report (PDF)


» 9News | AAP – 28 April 2017:
Electricity emissions-free by 2050: report
“Australia’s electricity generation could be emissions-free by 2050 but a carbon price would be needed to achieve that outcome, a report has found.”



» RenewEconomy – 1 May 2017:
Solar PV could provide 30% of power needs by 2030, ARENA says
“Solar PV could provide 30 per cent of Australia’s electricity needs by 2030, according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which has made further improvements and innovation in solar power one of its main investment priorities for the next few years.”


Roadmap: how to transform our electricity network

This report from Energy Networks Australia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation “identifies integrated measures which can achieve a positive energy future for Australian energy customers – enabling choice, lower emissions, lower costs and high security and reliability.”

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and the peak national body representing gas distribution and electricity transmission and distribution businesses in Australia, Energy Networks Australia, have partnered to develop an Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap (the Roadmap).

The Roadmap Final Report is the product of more than two years of collaborative work carried out by Energy Networks Australia and CSIRO. More than 200 different industry representatives contributed at over 14 workshops and webinars held as part of the public consultation process. Information on the Roadmap has been viewed more than 30,000 times during the development process.

The Roadmap Final Report identifies integrated measures which can achieve a positive energy future for Australian energy customers – enabling choice, lower emissions, lower costs and high security and reliability.

Topics: Energy policy, Energy resources, Energy industries, Energy consumption, Energy conservation, Renewable energy sources, Solar energy, Electricity, Electric utilities

» Read more on www.apo.org.au and www.energynetworks.com.au

» Download report (PDF)





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Corporate world towards zero carbon emissions


18% emissions reduction = $1 billion saved in a year

The American company Walmart, the world’s largest company by revenue, saved nearly $1 billion in just one year by cutting emissions. Walmart was the first retailer with a verified science-based target emissions-reduction plan, with a target to reduce its absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions by 18 percent by 2025. By taking action to cut emissions, Walmart saved nearly US$1 billion in the past fiscal year and avoided emitting almost 650,000 metric tons of CO2, by doubling the efficiency of its U.S. fleet between 2005 to 2015.

» WeMeanBusinessCoalition.org – 26 April 2017:
Walmart’s Project Gigaton


Companies driving corporate climate action

The transition to a low-carbon economy is underway and accelerating globally. Some of the world’s biggest companies are busy cutting their greenhouse gas emissions in line with climate science.

You can see a list of over 200 of companies already setting their emissions reduction targets in line with climate science on www.sciencebasedtargets.org/companies-taking-action

Leading businesses recognise the opportunity – and the imperative – to be part of the solution. Every sector in every market is being transformed.

» Join the Science-Based Targets initiative



Local zero carbon leadership

Locally in Geelong, we are seeing Barwon Water doing it – with its organisation now heading towards being powered 100% by renewable energy sources by 2025.

» Barwon Water shows sustainability leadership


Lighting company sees the light

By 2020, Philips – the largest lighting company in the world and a global leader in connected LED products – aims to be carbon neutral, use 100% renewable electricity, recycle 90% of its waste, send zero (yes, zero) waste to landfill, and have 15% of turnover from solutions that meet circular economy principles?

The company’s products and services are helping others advance the transition as well. A Philips lighting solution design for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will reduce energy use by 68% annually and prevent 11,000 tons of carbon pollution. A partnership with Buenos Aires will help the city cut energy use in half.

The IKEA Group – a home furnishing company with 336 stores in 28 countries – has committed to produce as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes in its buildings by 2020.

Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV, and Apple’s operations in 23 countries now run on 100% renewable power.




Dig deeper

» See more companies on www.theRE100.org/companies

» The Green Century MSCI International Index Fund has invested in Philips and other companies leading the transition to a sustainable economy.

» We Mean Business – April 2017 newsletter:
Economic opportunity through bold climate action

» Find out why setting a science-based target provides a clear pathway to future-proof growth on www.sciencebasedtargets.org



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#climateaction