We all know that climate change is happening.

The challenge facing us is what we do about it individually, and together.

Everyone has a role to play in tackling climate change through:

  1. Adaption – preparing for rising sea levels, warmer temperatures, more storm events and increased coastal erosion and flood risk.
  2. Mitigation – reducing our greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) emissions so that the severity of long-term climate change impacts is lessened.

We’re developing an action plan to guide Regional Council’s climate change response work. The action plan will be launched in 2019/20 and it will contain four main focus areas:

1. Reducing Regional Council’s own carbon footprint.

That means doing things like:

  • stocktaking our own carbon emissions from our buildings, vehicles and purchases and setting a reduction target - we’re using an internationally recognised system called CEMARS to do that;
  • reducing waste;
  • re-fitting buildings and using smart technology to reduce travel needs and improve energy efficiency at our work-sites;
  • replacing fleet cars with hybrid or electric vehicles where practical;
  • requiring our suppliers to provide low-carbon products and services;
  • exploring options for carbon offset payments; and
  • educating and supporting staff to make carbon-smart choices about how they work, live and travel.

2. Incorporating climate change considerations in our decision making.

That means thinking differently, such as by:

  • adding specific sections about climate change considerations in Council decision reports;
  • re-assessing the cost-benefit of existing work such as drainage scheme maintenance against alternatives such as land acquisition and wetland restoration; and
  • reviewing and updating existing policies and plans to make sure they reflect current climate change knowledge and best practice.

3. The services we provide as a Regional Council.

This means reducing emissions or improving climate change resilience through our core work such as:

  • maintaining flood protection schemes;
  • emergency management and regional planning;
  • planting including for coastal dune, wetland and forest restoration that provides natural erosion and flooding buffers as well as carbon absorption; and
  • providing public transport services in order to reduce vehicle numbers.

4. Collaborating with our communities to build resilience and work on the region’s response to climate change.

This means working with others to encourage people to reduce emissions and prepare for impacts and could include things like:

  • agreeing and co-ordinating work towards a regional emissions reduction target;
  • collating and distributing information about climate change projections, impacts and response recommendations;
  • establishing a contestable fund for community-led projects;
  • co-ordinating region-wide research, education, public awareness or behaviour change initiatives;
  • installation of electric vehicle charging stations;
  • car pool co-ordination.

Tell us which of these focus areas you think should be our highest priority for the 2019/20 year, by making a submission on our Proposed 2019/20 Annual Plan before 6 May 2019. See details here.

 

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18 Mar 2019

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