The scientific experts are telling us that the years before 2030 offer a window that will not remain open and bold action is essential if we are to stay under a 1.5 degree temperature rise.
Geelong Sustainability delivered its second Clever Living seminar virtually on May 27, 2020. Event Coordinator and Vice President, Noreen Nicholson said, ‘we wanted to build on the enthusiasm generated by our first 2020 seminar about Project Drawdown. We were delighted when ClimateWorks agreed to present the findings in their new seminal work, Decarbonisation Futures.’
Forty people including several Geelong councillors joined the webinar titled, Solutions & Actions for Net Zero Emissions Post Covid-19, which was presented by Cameron Butler, a senior analyst with ClimateWorks. Cameron explained how the four key sectors - electricity, buildings, transport, industry, agriculture & land - can reach 75% renewable electricity generation by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
Reaching net zero emissions by 2050 or even earlier is fast becoming the accepted norm in support of the Paris climate goals. All eight Australian states and territories have net zero targets in place as well as 121 countries, covering 25% of global emissions plus asset owners worth US$4 trillion including some of Australia’s largest companies.
To get there, Australia must immediately accelerate deployment of mature solutions and invest in the rapid development and commercialisation of emerging solutions in harder-to-abate sectors. This green recovery will help rebuild the economy after the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic. For example 3 in 4 new car sales being electric vehicles and reaching 79% renewables in electricity generation by 2030.
Geelong Sustainability’s new mission is to empower people to protect and regenerate the planet. President, Vicki Perrett said, “Weak targets will only lock in failure. Ambitious targets will drive economic opportunities. Geelong could become Victoria’s renewable powerhouse. The transition needs genuine commitment and strong action by all of us - government, business and individuals. ”
Cameron explained how the City of Greater Geelong’s operational emissions account for only 1% of the region’s emissions. He listed ways Geelong Council could influence the 99% of community emissions through specific initiatives for buildings, industry, transport, agriculture and land.
Examples of readily deployable solutions in Geelong include:
- Upgrades to existing residential and commercial buildings (energy efficiency, electrification, solar PV)
- Accelerated deployment of large scale renewables and storage
- Construction of charging stations to support electric vehicles roll-out
- Nature based solutions including carbon forestry (silvopasture and dedicated)
- Circular economy – increased recycling and localised supply chains
Geelong Councillor Sarah Mansfield encouraged people to “look at the new Local Government Act, which explicitly states that action on climate change is a responsibility of local government”. In recent submissions to CoGG, Geelong Sustainability has called on the City to set ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy targets for the whole region and to adequately prioritise environment initiatives in its budget.
People who attended were amazed to know the solutions are all ready to be implemented. “There is so much scope for CoGG to be the Australian showcase for sustainability and environment” Sanja Van Huet. “As a young person, this is the first time I’ve felt hopeful about our environmental future in quite some time!” Meg Watkins. Indeed, let's #BuildBackBetter