Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Yarra commits to climate change

Yarra Council has joined the push for greater action on climate change this week by signing the Better Futures Australia Declaration and by joining the Cities Race to Zero.

The Better Futures Australia Declaration is a joint statement that brings together leaders across all sectors and industries to commit to the target of net zero emissions before 2050 that was outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Yarra City Council Mayor, Gabrielle de Vietri said Council was excited to join forces with local governments across the country to address the climate emergency.

“Right now, we are at a tipping point when it comes to climate change. We need sustained advocacy and a coordinated approach to working towards agreed emissions targets.”

“It is up to us as leaders in our sector to take action, and to work with local governments around Australia and the world towards strong targets,” she said.

Council also committed to the Cities Race to Zero, which is a coalition of global cities working together to develop and implement climate action policies ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

Last year, Yarra adopted a Climate Emergency Plan which outlines an ambitious commitment to cut carbon emissions across the Yarra community by 2030. The plan includes measures to reduce carbon emissions, make the natural environment and community more climate resilient and support a transition to a more sustainable economy.

So far, as part of the plan, Council has implemented various actions, including:

  • Co-leading a project with 29 councils towards introducing zero-carbon standards for new commercial and multi-residential developments;
  • Engaged 1,300 people to take climate action through workshops and other programs;
  • Provided new grants for community-led climate action and sustainability projects;
  • Removed the planning application fee for solar panels in heritage areas;
  • Delivered a new program to upskill our community to be climate champions;
  • Phasing out the use of gas in council-owned buildings;
  • Transitioning Yarra Council’s vehicle fleet to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy;
  • Helping residents and businesses take up renewable energy and create all-electric homes and operations;
  • ‘Getting off gas’ by electrifying 10 Council-operated small buildings, with a further 10 buildings in progress. This includes upgrades to heating, hot water and cooktops from gas to electric, powered by 100% renewable energy;
  • Speeding up the roll out of cycling infrastructure by temporary protected bike lanes to inform permanent upgrades;
  • Creating climate adapted green spaces by harvesting more stormwater to irrigate parks;
  • Continuing advocacy to other levels of government for strong climate action;

Council’s recent budget also supported greater investment in active transport, the circular economy and open space, including:

  • 1,300 new trees to cool the city;
  • $98,000 extra funds for community grants for climate action;
  • $3.9 million for cycling and pedestrian projects;
  • Further work towards a food and organics kerbside collection service;
  • Funding to work with businesses and residents to reduce emissions and take up renewable energy;
  • Improving energy efficiency and transitioning council facilities away from using gas;
  • Further work towards zero carbon requirements for new developments .

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