Wagga Wagga City Council last night joined governments, businesses and individuals across the globe in re-setting its carbon emissions targets to net zero over the next 20 to 30 years.
Councillors resolved to adopt a Community Target for Net Zero Emissions (NZE) by 2050 and also a Corporate Target for Net Zero Emissions by 2040 and develop a strategy to achieve the corporate target.
The new goals on emissions follow the recent expiry of Council’s 2020 targets under the NSW Mayor’s Agreement on Climate Change which saw Council achieve a 29% reduction in carbon emissions.
This exceeded the original target of 20% reduction by 2020 – a significant result over a 12-year period, according to Council’s Director Community Janice Summerhayes.
“We have achieved a good result in 2020 and what Council has committed to tonight can be considered a re-set of our targets for the next two to three decades,” Ms Summerhayes said.
“This is not a new initiative. It is something Council committed to back in 2008 in line with the ‘NSW Mayor’s Agreement on Climate Change’.
“Now that the Agreement has expired and we have achieved an even better result than the original target of 20%, it is time to set new environmental goals and options for new targets that are focused on achieving Net Zero Emissions.
“We will now expand on this and implement a number of new initiatives in re-setting our targets.
“This falls in line with other councils and governments which are striving to reduce emissions around the world.”
Community consultation and engagement will take place in the development of the corporate strategy.
Ms Summerhayes said Council had achieved its 29% reduction in 2020 largely due to the diversion of food and garden organics (FOGO) from landfill.
Greenhouse gas emissions from waste represent the largest portion of Council’s carbon footprint and the introduction of FOGO was a significant achievement and the single most important action that Council could take.
Annual savings from future energy projects will be allocated into the newly named Net Zero Emissions Reserve for the purpose of funding initiatives required to reach NZE by 2040.
Council said it will also write to State and Federal Ministers and government representatives asking them to consider installing renewable energy in social housing and incentives for landlords to install renewable energy options on investment homes.