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Council to achieve carbon neutrality by 2012

NEWS RELEASE
7 December 2007

Council aims for carbon neutrality by 2012

Wellington City Council has agreed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2012.

Councillors at yesterday’s Strategy and Policy Committee meeting agreed to adopt a Climate Change Action Plan, which includes emission reduction targets and actions that will reduce the carbon footprint of Council operations and the community.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast says the plan is an ambitious statement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “It will mean Wellington becoming the first green capital in the world. Its comprehensive nature reflects the need for us to look at all aspects of our activities as an organisation and as a city, and its development responds to one of the key priority areas which I focused on and committed to during the recent local elections.”

As well as agreeing to achieve carbon neutrality for its own operations by 2012, Councillors also agreed to lead emission reduction in the community to 30% below 2001 levels by 2020 and 50% below 2001 levels by 2050.

The Council’s Climate Change Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, says the Council could
write out a cheque tomorrow to become carbon neutral without reducing its emissions.

“But that approach has absolutely no credibility whatsoever. The Council has to lead from the front and show the community it is prepared to commit to the aim of becoming carbon neutral. We must establish our credibility as an organisation before asking the community to be sustainable. The focus will be on reducing our emissions first before we look at purchasing offsets.”

Specific actions for the next year include dedicating reserve land as forest sinks, concentrating on green building design, making the Council’s vehicle fleet more efficient, and examining energy generation projects with the potential to supply renewable energy to Council operations.

Cr Ahipene-Mercer says transport is a key area where community emissions can be reduced. “Wellingtonians are already big users of public transport, cycling and walking, which gives us a positive platform from which to effect change. Getting community buy-in is crucial in order to achieve the Council’s emissions reduction goals. We need to ensure we have an efficient public transport system and that walking and cycling is convenient and safe for the community.”

Public feedback on the targets and Climate Change Action Plan will be sought during the 2008/09 Draft Annual Plan consultation.

ends

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