Image by René Riegal

emissions reduction

The 2017-2021 Eurobodalla Emissions Reduction Plan set out the Council’s strategy to minimise the greenhouse gas emissions from Council operations. Total municipal emissions are 440,000 tonnes. The estimate for 2018 was 443,000 tonnes … so 2019 represents an improvement of a meagre 0.7% over 2018.

We need to do more. We must do more. The chart below shows the Eurobodalla Shire emissions for 2019. We need to reduce the figure of 440,000 tonnes to zero by 2035.

 

And Council needs to lead that effort with a target of net zero by 2025.

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Graph showing some of the major contribution to Eurobodalla Emissions in 2019

Much progress has been made by Council in reducing emissions from its own operations. Recently the Council signed a power purchase agreement to purchase 80% of their energy needs from renewable energy. But more needs to be done to meet The MAYNE Team policy commitment of net zero for Council by 2025.

A new emissions plan is under development. The scope of this new plan must be extended to the Shire as a whole – that means all of us: individuals and commercial and industrial businesses. The new plan must include actions to assist businesses and residents to reduce their emissions.

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CO2 levels have spiked in the last 50 years (credit: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

The MAYNE Team’s approach to reducing emissions will be based on:

  • Renewable energy … we will:

    • increase the ESC renewables power purchase agreement from 80% to 100% of energy usage by Council

    • encourage the uptake of renewable electricity generating capacity, where possible through financial incentives and assistance to low-income households

    • assist in the maintenance and replacement of end-of-life systems including encouraging setting up a local solar recycling service.

  • Smart transport … we will:

    • Switch the Council's fleet to all electric vehicles within the next 3 years as leases become due for renewal.

    • Create bike and active transport friendly towns and make all roads in the Shire bike-safe. This will be a long program, but we are committed to installing wide verges/ bike paths on all road redevelopments as well as creating new shared paths for cyclists and pedestrians

    • Install public electricity chargers at Council public facilities including Libraries, Swimming pools, community centres and Council carparks and encourage the private construction of charging stations throughout the Shire.

  • Smart development … we will:

    • Lobby the State government for changes to the requirements for sustainable building regulations, for example that houses need to be solar passive

    • Adapt the protocols used to approve development applications to align them with today’s needs.

  • Smart waste management …

    • We will develop and implement program of Food Organics Garden Organics collection to process food and garden waste into high quality compost instead of putting it into landfill

    • In 2015/16, Council estimated that it emitted 20,014 tonnes of greenhouse gases from landfill. In 2018, Council claimed to have “cut our landfill emissions by over 50 per cent and saved more than 14,000 tonnes of CO2”. We have no further data, but we will at least align with the targets set by the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 (p6)

There are two important terms in the emissions equation. There are emissions that may be inevitable in business operations – we have referred to electricity, transport and methane above. But we must also offset these initiatives through activities that lead to the consumption of carbon.

The MAYNE Team will:

  

  • Update current land use policies and processes to expand conservation areas and biodiversity and work with private landholders to improve environmental protection

  • Smart agriculture … we will implement a program of rates relief to farmers and other food products’ producers who plant and protect native vegetation

  • Increase the number of green and treed places in the Shire – both urban and rural – including by changing development application review protocols (and lobby the State government

  • Encourage tree planting in urban areas and as part of all new developments

  • Lobby the State government to phase out the commercial logging of Eurobodalla’s forests

There is much that we have not covered in this policy document. Some of what we plan to do may be impacted by the anticipated Climate Resilience and Adaptation Plan currently being undertaken for the Shire.

We are committed to developing policies and approaches by engaging with businesses, community groups and individuals. Although emissions reduction is one of the biggest challenges of our time, there is a significant transition away from polluting health-harming fossil fuels to new renewable energy technologies. The Mayne Team will ensure that the Eurobodalla community benefits from this transition.

28 September 2021