Local councils outstrip federal climate action

Local councils are outstripping the Federal Government on policies to tackle climate change, committing to hundreds of projects to cut greenhouse gas pollution, according to a new report from the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership.

The report, Tackling Climate Change Together: Local Governments Lead the Charge, highlights hundreds of climate pledges made by councils in the Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest council climate alliance. 

Member councils are required to make five climate pledges, committing to projects ranging from powering council facilities with clean energy through to setting ambitious city-wide renewable energy and emissions reduction targets.

Chief Climate Councillor Professor Tim Flannery said that as Federal climate policy sees Australia falling short of our emissions reduction targets, climate action from our cities and towns is more important than ever.

“Despite the latest data showing that Australia’s emissions are soaring, our towns and cities are quietly shifting to a renewable future. A huge surge of local government renewable energy projects are underway.”

Key report findings include:

  • Cities Power Partnership councils have submitted more than 300 climate and energy pledges, making up a huge combined effort to drive down greenhouse gas pollution.
  • More than 130 of the submitted pledges focus on increasing renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas pollution at council or community level.
  • Councils are setting ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy goals, with more than 70 pledges focused on how councils can work together and with their communities to drive down local emissions by city-level clean energy or emissions reduction targets and help to educate and change community behaviour to reduce climate impact.

Councillor Belinda Coates of the City of Ballarat, Victoria, one of the newest councils to join the Cities Power Partnership, agreed that collaboration with other councils was key to developing a meaningful regional climate strategy.

“As a regional city, we can’t wait to join forces with our peers in the Cities Power Partnership to strengthen our climate response and learn from others, rather than reinventing the wheel,” she said.

“As we know, regional and rural areas are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and developing a unified regional response to drive down greenhouse gas pollution is crucial. In Ballarat, we’re powering ahead with a strong renewable energy target and working towards becoming carbon neutral.

“Tackling climate change is a priority for our council and our community. We can’t rely on the Federal government to take action, so it’s up to us.”

Read the full report here.