Building a lead on climate change

Advertorial by Sean Car,

The City of Melbourne continues to demonstrate the urgency in reducing carbon emissions in our city, both through its own actions and influencing others to act in the community and other levels of government. 

Thanks to major initiatives such as the Australian-first Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP), 100 per cent of the council’s electricity comes from renewable energy. The project, a partnership with 13 other organisations, enabled a new wind farm to be built in Ararat to power our city’s infrastructure. The council’s operations are also certified as carbon neutral along with a number of events it delivers including Fashion Week, Melbourne Knowledge Week and Melbourne Music Week.  

Through its Act Now campaign, environment portfolio chair Cr Cathy Oke said the City of Melbourne was part of a local and international movement of cities acting to reduce emissions and address climate change impacts. 

“The City of Melbourne is already investing in renewable energy, green buildings and in better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure,” Cr Oke said. 

“The everyday choices we make in our cities and communities can affect the health of our environment, and we can all take meaningful action towards a more sustainable, resilient future.”

“This could be purchasing 100 per cent GreenPower for your home or business, switching your superannuation or banking to a provider that has divested from fossil fuel, committing to reducing meat in your diet and sourcing your food locally, or choosing sustainable transport options.”

“Melbourne is globally recognised for its credentials in environmental sustainability and through our Climate Change Mitigation Strategy we will continue to lead and inspire ambitious and rapid climate change action among our residents, community organisations, businesses and beyond.”

With its own Climate Change Mitigation Strategy setting a zero emissions target by 2050, council’s co-director of Climate Change Action Krista Milne told CBD News last month that it couldn’t achieve this goal without action by the community and other levels of government. 

With 60 per cent of the emissions coming from the commercial buildings sector, and 18 per cent of emissions coming from transport, Ms Milne said action across these sectors is a particular focus.  

“We’re already experiencing the impacts of climate change in our city, so we need to accelerate action now. We need leadership and everyone acting together to contribute to the global efforts to reduce emissions,” she said. 

“Programs such as CitySwitch which work with office-based businesses are a key way to drive change to business-as-usual. We help participants measure and report emissions, and develop and implement environmental action plans to reduce energy consumption, emissions and waste production and improve staff wellbeing. CitySwitch participants saved more than $5 million from reduced energy consumption alone and avoided more than 23,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in the last reporting year.” 

As well as working with businesses to support the transition to renewables through programs such as MREP and now MREP2, the council has for many years required sustainable design outcomes and energy efficiency in new buildings through the planning scheme.

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