Sydney takes global climate fight to the next level | RenewEconomy

Sydney takes global climate fight to the next level

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Lord Mayor Clover Moore announced Sydney has joined forces with more than 100 City leaders from around the world committing to strong action on climate change as part of the Global Climate Action Summit.

Global Action Climate Summit
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Lord Mayor Clover Moore announced Sydney has joined forces with more than 100 City leaders from around the world committing to strong action on climate change as part of the Global Climate Action Summit.

Around 4,500 delegates from cities including Sydney, London, Milan, Montreal, New York, Paris, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Washington D.C. have called on national governments to redouble their climate action commitments.

The City of Sydney has signed up to six agreements, including commitments to increase renewable energy use, reduce waste going to landfill and make all local buildings net zero by 2050.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said despite only covering two per cent of the world’s surface, cities generate 75-80 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, so strong action in cities was vital.

“After the C40 Summit in Mexico, we committed to doing twice as much in half the time,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“We have achieved significant reductions by working with our residents and commercial and corporate sectors, including our property owners who have become leaders in global sustainability. Greenhouse emissions in the City of Sydney peaked in 2007 and have declined every year since.

“Since 2006, our City economy has expanded by 37 per cent and, with business as usual, our greenhouse emissions would have increased by 50 per cent. Instead, we have driven emissions down by 25 per cent in our own operations, and city-wide by 20 per cent – proving that ambitious action on climate change is possible and compatible with strong economic growth.

“We’ve achieved this because we developed a long term plan with ambitious targets and we determinedly stuck to that plan for over a decade. We’ve also found that our business leaders, their employees and our residents are very ready and eager to work with us.

“These extra commitments at the Global Climate Action Summit will work alongside our current target to make our local area ‘net zero’ by 2050.

“However, Australia is among the highest producers of greenhouse gas emissions per capita. We are doing everything we can to build a prosperous and resilient global city, but we are facing shameful inaction by our State and Federal Government.”

The summit highlighted climate action achievements around the world and drafted new commitments that will help meet the targets set at the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Mayor of Paris & C40 chair, Anne Hidalgo, praised Sydney’s sustainability achievements.

“It is an incredible achievement by the City of Sydney and 26 others to have peaked their emissions,” Ms Hidalgo said.

“As the greatest custodians of the Paris Agreement, mayors of the world’s great cities have once again shown that cities are getting the job done.

“The commitment of Lord Mayor Moore and so many of my fellow mayors to deliver on the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement, along with the dedication of businesses and citizens means we can deliver a more sustainable future.”

City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone represented Sydney at the summit, speaking at a number of events, representing Sydney on discussion panels, including the carbon neutral cities alliance, and holding a series of one-on-one meetings with city, business and non-profit representatives.

“This has been a terrific opportunity to share Sydney’s programs and achievements, learn from other cities’ successes and be inspired to achieve even greater outcomes in areas such as energy efficiency and waste management,” Ms Barone said.

The City has signed up to the following commitments at the Global Climate Action Summit:

Net zero carbon buildings

  • enact regulations and planning policies to ensure new buildings are net zero carbon by 2030
  • ensure all buildings are net zero carbon by 2050
  • own, occupy and develop assets that are net zero by 2030.

Renewable energy

  • introduce 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035
  • have 100 per cent renewable energy, including heating, cooling and transport, by 2050.

Advancing towards zero waste

  • reduce solid waste generation per capita by at least 15 per cent by 2030 compared to 2015
  • reduce solid waste going to landfill or incineration by at least 50 per cent by 2030 compared to 2015
  • Increase the diversion rate away from landfill and incineration to at least 70 per cent by 2030

Achieving an equitable low carbon transformation

  • increase action on community-led development and infrastructure projects that achieve environmental, health, social and economic benefits, especially in low income and vulnerable communities.

Powering Past Coal Alliance

  • phase out the use of coal power
  • support clean power through policies and investments.

The Edmonton declaration

  • call on national, state and local governments to recognise the need for urgent action
  • establish formal, science-based policy and decision-making processes.
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