City councils ‘a secret weapon to achieve net zero emissions’

Research showing emissions reduction plans by 60 local governments will achieve 96 percent of the current national target was highlighted this week.

A delegation of leading mayors, including Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds, travelled to Canberra to publicise the report.

They said the collective commitments of councils planning and implementing large emission reductions in their cities will lead to emission reductions of 88 million tonnes of carbon dioxide

This is equivalent to taking more than 20.5 million petrol cars off the road per year, the delegation said

Cr Reynolds said while there was significant ambition in local governments across Australia to make major emissions reduction, this potential could be delivered faster if there was a national program in place to help local governments deliver their ambition.

“We are calling on the Prime Minister to work with them to design a national cities emission reduction program, as many other nations have,” she said.

“It’s our view that the work of cities can be harnessed to allow Australia to set a much stronger zero emissions target at the national level.”

State of play: Local governments and city networks accelerating climate action in Australia, was prepared by Victorian consultancy firm Ironbark Sustainability for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM).

It noted that “Local governments are well-networked organisations with more political flexibility than national governments, and thanks to their local proximity, they can directly engage with, and respond to, local community needs”.