Global Warming: Local Action
ALGA National General Assembly brings Councils together to cut greenhouse emissions
Saving money on energy bills, cleaner air and more livable communities: these strong drivers explain why Cities for Climate Protection has taken off fast in Australia. Councils can have a strong influence over their communities' greenhouse emissions. Through their legislative responsibilities and links to the community, Councils can play a front line role.
For example, through planning and development powers, Local Governments can determine the scale of industrial, commercial and residential development and the energy efficiency of buildings. Some Councils also play a role in waste and sewage disposal. Transport systems are strongly influenced by long term strategic planning and land use decisions. As much as half of Australia's greenhouse emissions may fall under Councils' influence.
In less than two years, 70 Councils throughout Australia have committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through their participation in the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) program. Initiated by and for Local Government, CCP is an international campaign of the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI), delivered in Australian in partnership with the Australian Greenhouse Office, the lead Commonwealth agency on greenhouse matters.
The campaign is being funded by a commitment of the Federal Government of $13 million over five years. The 70 Councils who have joined CCP so far, represent 34% of the country's population. On joining the CCP program, Councils commit to achieving the following five milestones.
Milestone 1: Quantify the level of greenhouse gas emissions within their municipality and prepare a forecast of expected future growth.
Milestone 2: Set an emissions reduction goal.
Milestone 3: Prepare and adopt a Local Action Plan, documenting measures to be undertaken to achieve the reduction goal.
Milestone 4: Implement the Local Action Plan.
Milestone 5: Monitor and report on the implementation of the Local Action Plan.
So far, eight Councils have already set reduction goals under the program: ACT State Government, Unley (SA), Darebin (Vic), Frankston (Vic), Macedon Ranges (Vic), Mitcham (SA), Onkaparinga (SA) and Port Phillip (Vic).
If all 43 CCP Councils that have completed Milestone 1 adopt a modest reduction goal of 10%, overall reductions could be expected to total 34 million tonnes of equivalent CO2 by the year 2010. Without the implementation of reduction measures, the emissions from these same Councils is forecast to increase by 30% under a 'business as usual' scenario.
To help Councils achieve the milestones, CCP provides training in the use of CCP Software; problem solving workshops; detailed case studies; and one to one site visits examining issues of concern. The AGO is developing Local Greenhouse Action Modules that deliver support packages in key areas, such as increasing energy efficiency.
Recognition ceremonies and media exposure for the achievement of each milestone help build Councils' enthusiasm for the next step and raise local community awareness. A highlight of the 1998-99 year was the first CCP Conference held in Melbourne and attended by over 50 Mayors and Councillors and 70 Council staff from municipalities around Australia.
Councils taking greenhouse action:
- Alice Springs
- Australian Capital Territory
- Charles Sturt
- East Fremantle
- Greater Dandenong
- La Trobe Shire
- Macedon Ranges
- Pine Rivers
- Port Adelaide-Enfield
- Port Phillip
- Port Stephens
- Tea Tree Gully
- Alice Springs
Cities for Climate Protection will showcase its first 12 months of action and award its high achieving Councils at a complimentary breakfast in association with the ALGA General Assembly on Monday 29 November, 7am at the Parkroyal, Canberra.
For further information phone Citites for Climate Protection on (03) 9654 1322.