Thursday, 10 December 2015

With two thirds of the world’s population estimated to be living in cities by 2050, the role of local governments in tackling climate change is under the spotlight this month, as global leaders act upon agreements reached at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris.

While the aim of the Conference is for nations to reach a universal agreement on climate change – capping the rate of global warming at 2 degrees Celsius and further reducing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels – it is our cities that will be doing the heavy lifting when it comes to implementing climate change adaptation.
According to UN estimates, more than 70 per cent of climate change reduction measures will be undertaken by local governments, making them key players in this weeks debate.
Speaking at the Sustainable Innovation Forum in Paris is South Australia’s capital city Lord Mayor Martin Haese, who believes Adelaide is a strong contender in becoming the world’s first carbon neutral city – and he plans to do it by 2025.
“Out of any city in Australia we are ideally positioned to grab this,” he said.
And he used the Paris convention to explain why.
Around Australia and the world, cities are announcing targets of zero net emissions, but so far only a handful of states and capital cities have signed the global Compact of States and Regions and Compact of Mayors, two UN accords that require signatories to publicly report their emission reductions.
In April, the South Australian Government together with the Adelaide City Council signed the two international agreements and jointly set the ambitious target of making Adelaide carbon neutral in the next 10 years.
Adelaide already has significant runs on the board, but this partnership at state and local level to drive new policy and further affect change is crucial said Haese.
“The state already produces 41 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy and 27 per cent of South Australian households have solar PV on their roof – that’s the highest take up in the nation,” he said...
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