Australian Local Government Climate Action Review

In 2018, Beyond Zero Emissions conducted a comprehensive assessment of what councils and communities are doing to tackle climate change, along with the barriers and challenges they face.

The result of our research is the Australian Local Government Climate Review 2018.

The research found that many local councils have corporate and community targets as well as strategies to reduce emissions.

How does your council compare?

 

Key findings

National overview

  • Australia’s councils and communities are leading action on climate change
  • Nationally, 50% of Australian councils provide public information on climate change
  • 88% of the responding councils were unsatisfied with the Federal Government’s approach to meet global targets.

Corporate and community emissions

  • 19% of Australian councils provide public corporate emissions targets
  • Only 7% of Australian councils provide public targets to reduce community emissions
  • Strong community support can be harnessed to reduce council and community emissions.

Actions

  • Common measures to reduce corporate emissions included energy audits of large facilities, installing solar PV and upgrading lighting in council facilities
  • The most common and cost effective action was uptake of solar PV
  • Community actions were focused on education, events or renewable energy access.

Budgets

  • A lack of funding and resourcing are the most significant barriers to reducing emissions in both corporate and community efforts

Benefits

  • Reducing emissions creates mutual benefits across the community and council
  • Positive outcomes include cost savings, environmental and health benefits and increased profile
  • Local action contributes to meeting the Paris Climate Agreement and prepares communities for a changing climate.

Do you want to be a Zero Carbon Community?

What councils told us they are doing

Most common measures implemented by councils to reduce corporate emissions

  • Install solar PV on council facilities
  • Upgrade lighting in council facilities
  • Energy audits of large facilities
  • Improve or upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning in council facilities
  • Change over residential streetlights to LED
  • Energy efficiency retrofits for large facilities
  • Strict sustainability criteria in planning processes.

Most common measures implemented by councils to reduce community emissions

  • Bike paths
  • Urban forest and greening strategies
  • Organic waste diversion
  • Community climate and green travel events
  • Electric vehicle infrastructure
  • Education and communication
  • Bulk-buy solar PV for residents

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BEYOND ZERO EMISSIONS

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is an internationally recognised climate change think tank, providing independent and ambitious climate change solutions for Australia.

Our flagship research shows how all sectors of the Australian economy can decarbonise, repower and benefit from the transition to zero emissions. These Zero Carbon Australia plans cover renewable energy and electricity; energy efficient buildings; sustainable transport; agriculture, farming and land use; and industry.

Through volunteer-powered research we show that a thriving, zero emissions society is achievable and affordable now, and that Australia can become a renewable energy superpower.