As Australia swelters through intense heat waves, local councils have stepped up to tackle climate change in their own backyard.
The Cities Power Partnership (CPP), Australia’s fastest growing local government climate network, this week welcomed 35 new councils, bringing it to 70 councils.
From Bathurst in New South Wales through to Brighton in Tasmania, councils are answering the call to combat climate change through clean energy, sustainable transport and energy efficiency.
Over half of the councils in the CPP are regional or rural. Regional Australia is already feeling the impact of climate change, such as intensifying heatwaves, super-charged storms and worsening bushfires, in addition to a steep escalation in power prices.
Councils, as the tier of government that’s closest to the community, are uniquely placed to bring the benefits of cheap, reliable renewable energy to regional Australia.
In the six months since the launch of the CPP we’ve seen a surge of council renewable energy projects, from Lismore’s floating solar farm through to a solar bulk buy program in Strathbogie, Victoria helping residents combat rising power bills.
While Federal climate policy stalls, local governments are rolling up their sleeves and getting on with the job. With 7.5 million Australians now represented by CPP councils, the groundswell of grassroots climate action is fast spreading across the country.
This mirrors what we’re seeing from around the globe, as cities and towns create ambitious renewable energy targets and climate solutions. Transforming the way cities and towns use energy could make up to 70 per cent of the greenhouse gas reductions needed to limit worsening climate change.
We’re calling on all councils across Australia to stand up and become part of the climate solution, by signing up to the CPP.
Professor Lesley Hughes is a Climate Councillor and an ecologist.\
This article first appeared in the Ballarat Courier on 30 January 2018