City councillors have backed three initiatives including the C40 Renewable Energy Declaration that positions cities as champions and leaders for 100 per cent decarbonised energy.
The City of Melbourne has committed to three climate declarations – Better Futures Australia, Edinburgh, and C40 Renewable Energy – to help mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The objective through the four-year council plan is to take action to reduce emissions and waste, protect public health, and strengthen the economy.
The Better Futures Australia declaration has four goals, including actions to limit average global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels; inspiring Australians to realise zero emissions opportunities; advocating for a national response; and working together, alongside and in partnership with governments to support the delivery of the Paris Agreement.
Better Futures Australia represents a coalition of Australian business and industry leaders, investors, local and state and territory governments, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, healthcare and social institutions, farmers, developers, unions, workers, artists, academic and cultural institutions, and communities.
The Edinburgh Declaration seeks recognition of the critical role of local governments in achieving the vision set out in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. It also notes the need for immediate and increased efforts to mobilise financial resources at all levels of government and the private sector to deliver and mainstream biodiversity actions.
The C40 Renewable Energy declaration positions cities as champions and leaders for 100 per cent decarbonised energy systems. Its purpose is to raise urban ambition on energy, accelerate renewable energy deployment, and harness the collective power of cities to influence global action on climate change.
“We’re looking for ways to continue to encourage greater uptake of renewables, create new opportunities for research, training and jobs – and build our reputation as a centre for clean energy innovation”
“We know climate change is a serious challenge and it’s vital we come together to have these important discussions as we look to the future for our city,” said Sally Capp, lord mayor.
“We were the first capital city council in Australia to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, and we have an ambition for the entire municipality to be zero emissions by 2040.”
According to Deloitte Access Economics analysis through climate action, Australia’s economy could gain $680bn and more than 250,000 jobs by 2070.
“Melbourne has been a leader in sustainability for decades and we’re looking for ways to continue to encourage greater uptake of renewables, create new opportunities for research, training and jobs – and build our reputation as a centre for clean energy innovation,” added Capp.
The council’s endorsement of the declarations closely follows the released IPCC report which estimates the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5 degrees celsius in the next decade. The report finds that unless there are “immediate, rapid and large-scale” reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees celsius will be beyond reach.
The IPCC report shows emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for around 1.1 degree celsius of warming since the 1850s.
“It is timely for us to have a discussion about climate declarations in light of the IPCC report, and as the world’s leaders prepare to connect at COP26 in November,” said councillor Rohan Leppert, environment portfolio lead at City of Melbourne.
The City of Melbourne declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in 2019 and said it remains committed to taking action and partnering across sectors to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius.