Cities could deliver greater emissions reduction than the CPRS

By Angela Dorizas

Australian cities could halve their greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years by implementing a targeted strategy similar to the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan, a new study has found.

In research commissioned by the City of Sydney, climate change consultancy company Kinesis found that actions outlined in the Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy had the potential to cut emissions by 540 million tonnes between 2010 and 2030. The reduction is the equivalent of Australia emitting zero carbon for a year. 

The study also revealed that the strategy had the potential to slash a city’s emissions by 48 million tonnes in the year 2030 alone.

Presenting the report findings at the meeting of Capital City Lord Mayors in Canberra, Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the report showed that if Australian cities implemented measures similar to those in the Sustainable Sydney plan, they could collectively halve emissions by 2030.

“The City of Sydney has a comprehensive plan in place to reduce our emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, using integrated actions and mature technologies including tri-generation, building retrofits, simple transport improvements and renewable energy,” she said.

“These real and tangible proactive changes are already underway in other Australian cities too, and need to be reflected in Australia's commitment to national targets in Copenhagen.”

Emission reductions through the scheme are four times greater than predicted reductions across all of Australia's buildings as a result of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the study found.

“While we acknowledge the benefits and targets set by the CPRS, this report shows there is real scope to significantly increase national targets,” Moore said.

“Capital City Mayors today agreed to further develop this research before Copenhagen.”

The report concluded with a challenge for all Australian cities to follow the City of Sydney’s example.

“The City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy provides a model for other cities to follow in order to achieve these reductions at the city scale.

“This analysis provides a strategic direction for emission reduction and shows the possibilities that can be achieved by replicating the City of Sydney’s approach across all of Australia’s capital cities.

“However, to achieve these reductions it will be necessary for each city to adopt a city wide implementation strategy that commits to a city wide approach to emissions abatement.”

The report also recommended that more detailed analysis be conducted by each city using locally available data.

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