Climate Summit for Local Government

Sept 6-8, 2023 | Melbourne
Mornington Peninsula Shire is ahead of the curve when it comes to action on climate, taking major strides towards net zero emissions.

This case study explores how Mornington Peninsula Shire recognised the urgency of climate change and the steps they took to respond.

Mornington Community Members

Why Mornington Peninsula Shire created a Climate Emergency Plan

With community concern about the worsening impacts of climate change on the rise, Council took action, unanimously declaring a climate emergency in August 2019.

To address rising emissions and the community’s concern, Mornington Peninsula Shire developed a Climate Emergency Plan within just one year. At the time the climate emergency was declared, only two similar plans were adopted nationally, making Mornington Peninsula Shire one of the first local governments in Australia to do so.

Taking action to significantly drive down carbon emissions and build resilience to climate change has been met with support by the community, with more than 90% of 547 community members surveyed in favour of the declaration. The Climate Emergency Plan sets ambitious targets and actions to guide the Peninsula towards zero community carbon emissions by 2040, with a 100% renewables target for Shire operations by 2023.

How Mornington Peninsula Shire created its Climate Emergency Plan

Consultation occurred early to understand community priorities and to workshop potential actions. Input from the community drove the formation of the Plan’s actions and targets. The Shire conducted extensive online consultation on the draft Plan, including surveys, workshops, drop-in sessions, a children’s art competition and peer reviews. Despite the restrictions associated with COVID-19, over 700 community responses were considered.

The Climate Emergency Plan aims to reach net zero emissions through actions described in seven summits and 21 action steps.

The 10-year Plan provides targets for:

  • Leadership and governance
  • Climate advocacy
  • Zero carbon energy
  • A resilient and adaptive community
  • Sustainable transport and travel
  • Sustainable land use and environmental restoration
  • Circular economy and zero waste

The Plan guides the community to zero net emissions by 2040 with interim emissions targets for a 30% reduction in emissions by 2025, 65% reduction by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2035.

These targets were determined based on the research of CSIRO, IPCC, BOM and other organisations, as well as matching community drive for action and realistic modelling of actual capabilities. The community emissions profile, used to determine the mitigation planning, was developed with BASIC+ reporting under the Global Protocol for community-scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories (the GPC). In addition, to help guide the planning, a report was developed on the science-derived targets for greenhouse gas emissions.

Each year, reporting will be undertaken against the plan and 21 action steps will be reviewed to ensure the plan is on-track and flexible enough to respond to emerging technologies and opportunities. Every two years, the plan will undergo a full review and update to ensure that all targets, actions and tasks reflect current scientific projections and best-practice initiatives.

Our plan was developed through collaborative ‘blue sky’ thinking, extensive community consultation and collaboration across Shire teams, to ensure it was ambitious, achievable, relevant to our region and owned by our community.

– Melissa Burrage, Manager Climate Change and Sustainability, Mornington Peninsula Shire

Climate Emergency Plan Outcomes

Since adoption of the Plan in August 2020, the 172 tasks that sit within the 21 Action Steps have been delegated across nearly all business units of the organisation. Within only a year of releasing the plan, 70% of the tasks had commenced.

Highlights this year include:

  • Successful advocacy by the community and the Shire to oppose the AGL Gas Import Terminal and Pipeline Project
  • Achieving carbon neutrality in Shire operations
  • 22 ha of bio links created and nearly 17,000 trees and shrubs planted
  • $500,000 in the Annual Budget FY 21/22 for Climate Emergency
  • Climate Action Grant program launched with $100,000 available
  • Food Organics Garden Organics collection launched
  • Expansion of the Shire’s Schools Environmental Education Program
  • Launch of the Community Energy Program
  • Programs supporting the community reduce emissions e.g. Energy Savvy Upgrades program and Small Business Energy Saver Program
  • Research into health impacts of climate change.

Mornington Peninsula Shire is a pioneering local climate action, demonstrating how every Australian community can work together to create a safe and thriving future.

Mornington Peninsula Shire was a winner in the Ambition category in the Cities Power Partnership Climate Awards 2021.

CPP Awards 2021 Logo Winner