Sydney joins new climate change grouping

clover moore green

The City of Sydney has joined an international coalition of mayors committed to reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change.

The ‘Compact of Mayors’ is a global platform for cities committing to emissions reduction targets and climate action. It is part of the C40 initiative, founded by the London Lord Mayor Ken Livingstone in 2005, in which major global cities cooperate in confronting climate change.

The move comes just two weeks after Sydney hosted a meeting of climate change experts from 13 cities for a C40 meeting on building efficiency.

Sydney and Melbourne are the only Australian cities on the C40 membership list. Member cities must have a population of at least three million, or be among the top 25 global cities by GDP. They qualify on both counts. There are also ‘Innovator City’ and ‘Observer City’ memberships for smaller cities or those unable to join for any reason.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that being a member of the Compact of Mayors would ensure Sydney’s work combatting climate change was reported to a global audience, encouraging other cities to improve their performance.

“By showing leadership in our cities and working together, we can make a real difference,” Ms Moore said. “Cities account for around 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which means we need a serious effort in our cities to slow global warming. Two thirds of Australians live in cities, and by 2056 they will house another 10 million people.

“We’re already delivering significant action on climate change and slashing carbon emissions in the heart of the nation’s largest city. Our commitment to this compact with city leaders from around the world reinforces our commitment to the Sydney community to take action on climate change.”

The City of Sydney has previously announced a target to cut emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, based on 2006 levels. It has also announced a 31 per cent energy efficiency improvement target for the city’s buildings by 2030.

Sydney has implemented a number of sustainability programs, including CitySwitch, the Better Buildings Partnership, Smart Green Business and Smart Blocks, which Ms Moore says are improving energy performance of buildings across the city, while making significant financial savings.

“Better Buildings Partnership members have slashed their energy bills by $30 million a year since the partnership was established in 2011 and avoided over 113,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in the past year,” she said.

The Compact of Mayors describes itself as the world’s largest cooperative effort among mayors and city officials to reduce carbon emissions, track progress, and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The group’s charter is to drive more aggressive city climate actions, reaffirm existing targets, and provide consistent and transparent public reporting of climate data from member cities.

Its aims:

  • Enable recognition of new and existing city-level commitments by making annual reporting data on local climate action publicly available
  • Establish robust and transparent data collection standards
  • Commit to common reporting processes for local climate action that allow for consistent and reliable assessment of progress towards meeting those targets
  • Create an evidence base of the greenhouse gas impact of city action to enable capital flows into cities to support city governments taking further action and to be held responsible for that action and the associated investments
  • Demonstrate the commitment of city governments to contribute positively towards more ambitious, transparent, and credible national climate targets by voluntarily agreeing to meet standards similar to those followed by national governments
  • Encourage national governments to actively support additional city action by recognising local commitments, establishing more enabling policy environments and directing resources to cities to limit any further increase in global warming and to appropriately resource both mitigation and adaptation local climate action

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