Environmental push

Article image - Environmental push

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) has urged all levels of government to maintain the Renewable Energy Target (RET), while two Australian Councils have been awarded as world leaders in sustainable practices.

“Significant opportunities exist to make energy more affordable, improve energy productivity, increase system diversity and resilience, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, through distributed generation,” said Tom Roper, ASBEC President.

“In addition to maintaining the Renewable Target, a Commissioner should be appointed to focus on the removal of regulatory barriers and inconsistent standards, and create a viable market for renewable and distributed generation resources.”

Mr Roper also called for reforms to energy market regulations to facilitate the delivery of distributed generation to customers.

Distributed generation is the delivery of power to the grid through a variety of smaller generation systems including solar, cogeneration. trigeneration and district energy systems.

The ASBEC is a collective of industry organisations committed to a sustainable built environment in Australia.

The RET was introduced in 2001 by the Howard government to encourage investment in renewable energy.

In 2010, the Rudd government set the target of 20 percent of all electricity produced would come from renewable sources.

A recent review into the scheme by the Abbott government recommended that it be scaled back, however no announcement has been made regarding the scheme’s future.

Local Governments across Australia however continue to lead and campaign for renewable energy efforts.

Both the Yarra City Council in Victoria and the City of Fremantle in Western Australia have both been accredited as ‘One Planet Councils’, making them the third and fourth worldwide to achieve the title.

One Planet Living is an internationally recognised benchmark awarded to regions around the world for being leaders in sustainable living.

It provides a framework and plan of action for projects and organisations to make it easy to reach sustainable targets.

Yarra Mayor, Councillor Jackie Fristacky, said Council’s certification in One Planet Living’s International Leadership category validated Council’s longstanding commitment to applying sustainable principles to its work.

“We were thrilled when Yarra became the first Victorian Council to achieve carbon neutral certification under the national Carbon Offset Scheme in 2012.

“One Planet Living provides a way to rate Council against other local authorities leading the world in terms of approaches to sustainability, to see how Yarra measured up and to highlight areas we could improve.”

Fremantle Mayor, Dr Brad Pettitt, said the City’s certification was a significant achievement that was vitally important to the City’s ongoing sustainability efforts.

“We’ve been working steadily towards best practice and leadership in sustainability at all levels and have had some significant achievements over the years, including becoming WA’s first carbon neutral council in 2009.

“The One Planet accreditation is another signal to the community that our efforts are not token gestures or small talk, but worthwhile, effective and measureable.”

Ed Cotter, managing director of One Planet Living, said that both councils have shown great leadership and vision on how local government can actually head the charge on sustainability by assessing their operations.

“Certification against One Planet Living is a stamp of recognition reserved for international sustainability leaders striving to make One Planet Living a reality for people and organisations.”

Dubbo city council recently took part in Clean Up The World Weekend, a global initiative to take environmental action at a local level.

“To celebrate the annual Clean Up The World Weekend, Council provided education to local schools as part of the ‘Do the right thing for our river’ campaign which combined the litter prevention message, while also promoting the need for students to recycle,” said Dubbo City Council’s Stormwater Education Officer, Karen Hagan.

“Litter dropped anywhere in Dubbo may be carried by rain into the stormwater system and transported to the Macquarie River.

“Litter in the Macquarie River is unsightly and animals that use the river may eat the rubbish by accident or become entangled in it.

“By using hands on engaging activities, students had the opportunity to learn about recycling, the importance of correctly disposing of non-recyclable waste and how litter can directly impact on the health of the Macquarie River.”

The Clean Energy Council recently announced that South Australia is expected to reap major benefits by boosting its renewable energy target to 50 percent by 2025.

“With its plentiful renewable resources including sun, wind and geothermal, South Australia is well-placed to attract a range of large-scale projects, along with billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs, as a result of lifting its renewable energy target,” said Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh.

“However, none of this will be possible if the national RET is slashed as recommended by the Federal Government’s Warburton Review of the policy.”
Coinciding with the United Nations Climate Summit held in New York on September 22, marches were held worldwide supporting action on climate change.

The New York Rally attracted over 300,000 attendees, including a ‘wall of women’ organised by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), International.

“We have asked women here in New York with us this week, as well as those equally impassioned across the globe, to stand in solidarity and physically link together to demonstrate our role in the protection and defense of the ‘web of life,’” said Osprey Orielle Lake, co-founder and executive director of WECAN International.

Major Rallies were also held in Australia’s capital cities, including between 10,000 and 30,000 attendees in Melbourne and 1,500 in Brisbane.