The City of Sydney, City of Darwin and Brisbane City Council have all joined the Cities Power Partnership, and initiative of the Climate Council to encourage Local Government Authorities to promote the use of clean energy.
There are now 58 councils in the Partnership, representing 7 million people.
“With almost 30 percent of the population now represented by local governments that are committed to renewable energy and emissions reduction, council action on climate is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Australia,” said Alix Pearce, Cities Power Partnership Director.
“We have local governments ranging from our very largest metropolitan councils, such as City of Sydney and Brisbane, through to tiny rural shires joining the Cities Power Partnership. The local government race to renewables is well and truly on.”
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: “We have a long-term commitment to tackling climate change, and we’re accelerating our environmental actions because we know the next few years are crucial in determining whether global efforts can limit temperature rises to two degrees by 2070.
“It’s only through working with businesses, residents and other levels of government that we can make the scale of change so urgently required – so I’m proud to join many other local governments around the nation in the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership.”
The local governments represented in the Partnership run many renewable energy projects supporting diverse communities. Projects range from a solar bulk buy in the tiny Victorian rural shire Strathbogie, helping to lift residents out of energy poverty, through to the City of Sydney’s $10 million investment in renewables.
Recent research shows that cities generate up to 70 percent of the emissions reductions needed to limit the impact of extreme climate change, which means the work that urban local governments are doping to combat climate is taking on increasing global importance.
“Time and time again we’ve seen serious action from local government around the country to slash emissions and ramp up renewables,” said Professor Tim Flannery, chief councillor at the Climate Council.
“Local councils are leading the way, with impressive projects across renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport that are keeping money in the community and reducing pollution.”
Climate change and its effects are an increasingly important issue to local government. It is one of the top five priority issues for the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA, and many councils have introduced mitigation measures.
“In Australia, local councils and communities have long been at the forefront of climate action, continuing their efforts, despite periods of instability and inaction at the state and federal climate policy level,” said professor Flannery.
“In recent times, shires, towns and cities have stepped up their efforts and profile on climate change action both at home and internationally.”
The Climate Council’s report on local government and climate change is available here.
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