Waverley Council has fast-tracked their net-zero emissions target planning to be 100% carbon neutral by 2030.
Council unanimously supported a Mayoral Motion to investigate setting a new target of 2030 last month and has since confirmed they will be surpassing their original goal of 70% emissions reduction by 2030.
Waverley Council Mayor Paula Masselos signalled the importance of sustainable practices under her governing.
“We’re very committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, that is something that I have a really strong commitment to,” Mayor Masselos told City Hub.
“I’m really proud that Waverley was one of the first councils to commit to emission reduction targets.”
Council has been reducing its emissions through energy efficiency upgrades, solar installation and renewable energy purchasing from Moree Solar Farms.
Waverley Council is also part of the Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest group of local governments tackling climate change, to help secure its net-zero goal.
Cities Power Partnership Director Dr Portia Odell said it’s critical that Australia reduces its emissions into the future.
“The science tells us that we must make deep and rapid cuts to emissions this decade, and Australia’s fair share requires us to cut emissions 75% by 2030 below 2005 levels, and reach net zero by 2035,” Odell said.
Waverley Council’s emissions have been steadily declining over the last decade, amounting to 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide last year. In 2018 the average person in NSW had a carbon footprint of 18 tonnes.
“It’s incredibly exciting to see Waverley Council stepping up, acknowledging the urgent need to cut emissions, and accelerating its target by 20 years,” Odell said.
Net-zero will mean that any emissions that cannot be eliminated through electrification will be mitigated by the purchasing of carbon offsets.
Waverley Council recently purchased emission credits to cover last year’s emissions. They purchased wind farm credits from Turkey and funded ecological restoration at Mount Sandy Conservation Area.
Community falls behind
Mayor Masselos said that Waverley’s community target remains set for net-zero by 2050 and admits that while there has been a reduction in community emissions, the intermittent target for a 30% reduction by 2020 has not been met.
“I want to be really clear, net-zero is for council, not for the community,” Masselos said.
“At this point the community is certainly further behind than we are, but I think it’s really important that Council is shown to be a leader.”
Long-time local Ingrid Strewe welcomes Council’s decision but says the community needs to act faster.
“The fires from a couple of years ago were absolutely devastating, so the more any council can do to help reduce emissions the better.
“The community needs to move to net-zero, but this will only be done with the assistance from Federal and State Governments,” Strewe said.
“If Council wants the community to undertake behaviour change, then we need to be leading the way and providing inspiration and a practical case study for people,” Mayor Masselos said.