The Climate Council has today released a new report highlighting the potential and powerful benefits of climate action at a local level, including the scale of action already underway, as the Federal Government remains at an energy impasse.
The ‘Local Leadership: Tracking Local Government Progress on Climate Change’’ report shows populous cities, booming urban centres and rural townships could collectively slash energy emissions by a staggering 70% (1), by joining forces to become energy and climate trailblazers in their own backyards.
“Cities and towns are leading the way in Australia with many putting the Federal government to shame. This follows the US example where 250 Mayors have committed to the Paris agreement in spite of the Trump withdrawal,” said Climate Council CEO, Amanda McKenzie.
Report Findings Include:
- Australian cities are at risk from worsening climate impacts (hotter and more frequent heatwaves, rising sea levels, flooding and intensifying extreme weather).
- More than 200 temperature and rainfall records were set during Australia’s Angry Summer in 2016/17, affecting major cities and regional centres.
- More than 80% of Australians live in towns and cities on the coast. Climate change is driving sea-level rises, increasing the risk of coastal flooding.
- Australian towns, cities and shires are major drivers of pollution and can become critical hubs for climate change solutions.
- 70% of emission reductions required to meet the Paris Agreement can be done in cities.
- Councils and communities are leading State and Federal Governments on tackling climate change and capitalising on renewable energy.
Chief Climate Councillor Professor Tim Flannery said the milestone report coincides with the Climate Council’s launch of the Cities Power Partnership, a program representing more than 3 million Australians from hundreds of towns and cities, encouraging and supporting actionable climate solutions from the ground up.
“This landmark national program, has already seen 35 councils take the pledge, representing 1 in 10 Aussies or more than 12 per cent of the population,” he said.
The Cities Power Partnership encourages towns and cities, via local governments, across Australia to make the switch to renewable energy and sustainable transport, while building greener, efficient and more resilient communities.
“Local governments and communities around Australia are already taking action on climate change. The Cities Power Partnership is about accelerating, celebrating and promoting local council’s achieving emissions reductions and transitioning towards renewable energy technologies like wind and solar, all on home soil.”
“Following the success of the Cities Power Partnership’s official launch in Canberra today, the Climate Council is now urging councils across the rest of Australia to take the pledge and get on with the job of combating climate change.”
For more information please contact Climate Council Media Advisor Alexia Boland on 0430 511 068.
1. Compared to the expected emissions to 2050 based on policies currently in place (IEA 2016).