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Council Reduces Its Emissions By 35 Per Cent In Three Years

Waikato Regional Council has reduced its gross emissions by 35 per cent since it started its Emissions Management and Reduction Plan in 2016/17 and is on track to meet a target of 70 per cent CO2e reductions compared to the base year by 2030.

In 2017, Waikato Regional Council formally signed up to accurately measure and reduce its carbon footprint and to have this work independently assessed and verified through the Toitū carbonreduce programme.

A recent audit undertaken on 30 October 2020 showed a 7 per cent annual reduction in emissions between 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Climate Action Committee Chair Jennifer Nickel says the most significant emissions sources for 2019-2020 were diesel and electricity, like in other years.

“However, emissions from electricity consumption have been reduced by almost 63 per cent since the base year and emissions from diesel consumption have reduced about 8.5 per cent altogether,” says Cr Nickel.

Emissions from domestic air travel were also down.

“These were significantly lower this time round, likely due to the COVID-19 lockdown. But we have put in place a new preapproval process for staff travel to Wellington to help meet our emissions reduction target.”

The council initially set a target of reducing its corporate emissions by an average of 2 per cent every year with the overall intention of achieving a 45 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide by 2030 and reduce emissions to net zero by 2050.

But in the 2018/19 year, emissions were 30 per cent lower than the 2016/17 base year, and analysis indicated that a 60-70 per cent reduction in corporate emissions was a feasible target.

The analysis accounted for expected changes in technology and national based energy supplies as well as proactive measures the council could undertake. Therefore, the council changed its goal to achieve emissions reductions of 70 per cent by 2030, with an annual reduction of approximately 7 per cent per year.

The reduction in emissions relate only to Waikato Regional Council’s corporate activities and do not include regional policy interventions. Progress is monitored continuously by a core group of staff and reviewed on an annual basis to ensure the organisation is staying on track to meet its targets.

“As a council, we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint,” says Cr Nickel.

“We recently adopted the Climate Action Roadmap which will guide internal activities and budget planning, so we’re currently using it in preparation for the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

“The roadmap will also guide opportunities to work with iwi partners and key stakeholders for a climate-resilient Waikato.”

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