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Leadership And Collaboration The Key For Hamilton City Council’s Climate Change Action Plan

Hamilton City Council’s Climate Change Action Plan will include a city-wide partnership between businesses, organisations and community groups to tackle how our city responds to climate change.

Proposals for the Action Plan were outlined at today’s Council meeting, including the formation of a Hamilton Climate Change Accord.

The Accord will see the Council partner with stakeholders across Hamilton to reduce carbon emissions generated within the city.

In developing the Action Plan, the Council commissioned a breakdown of the 982,284 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents) of emissions produced across Hamilton.

Land transport is the city’s largest source of emissions with 62% (619,723 tCO2e), followed by energy used for industry and in homes (29%, 276,594 tCO2e).

The intent of the Accord is for the city to work together and share the load in addressing the challenges of climate change, especially those posed by transport and energy use.

The Chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Margaret Forsyth, said: “The Climate Change Accord is the key thing here. Not only can [the Council] be leading in what we’re doing as an organisation, but by bringing stakeholders together, big and small, and working together as one … there is a leadership opportunity for us and a collaborative opportunity.”

The Action Plan also proposes targets and actions for the Council as an organisation to reduce its carbon emissions.

Between July 2018 and June 2019, the Council generated 11,033 tCO2e, with the main contributors being fuel and natural gas (35.6%), electricity (30.8%) and biosolids to vermi-composting (22.2%).

The Action Plan seeks to reduce the Council’s emissions by 50% by 2030 and to have net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Within the Council’s fuel and natural gas emissions, 65% is from the use of natural gas at the wastewater treatment plant to generate electricity at peak times, boilers to heat the pools at Waterworld and Gallagher Aquatic Centre, and for gas appliances at our various facilities.

“It’s really important that we understand our baseline and our foundation – where we are starting from and what we are currently doing,” said Cr Forsyth. “I often say, ‘in order to go fast, you’ve got to go slow’. So, the time staff have spent gathering that baseline data is really important.”

Options have been identified to achieve a 21% reduction, starting with those which address the main sources of emissions. These include:

  • installing a biogas-fired engine at the city’s wastewater treatment plant to reduce the natural gas used to generate electricity at peak times
  • replacing the gas boilers at Waterworld with heaters that emit less carbon such as electric pumps
  • improving the fuel efficiency of the vehicles and tools used by Council
  • continuing the electricity efficiency programme for the city’s street lights and Council buildings
  • reducing the waste to landfill from Council sites.

A further 22% reduction in emissions by 2030 is anticipated to be achieved through the Government’s commitment to reducing the use of coal and natural gas for electricity generation.

The remaining 7% of the 50% reduction target will come from projects identified between now and 2030.

The draft Climate Change Action Plan will be presented to the Environment Committee meeting in June 2020.

Click here to read the progress report on the Climate Change Action Plan as part of today’s meeting agenda.

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