City of Newcastle sets its five-year climate plan

22 Nov 2020

City of Newcastle intends to transition to a fleet of electric vehicles, build operational resilience through additional renewables and battery storage, and switch all city lighting to LED over the next five years under a new Climate Action Plan.

The Plan covers both City of Newcastle operations and Newcastle as a whole to accelerate emission reduction across the City through a suite of sensible and prudent action and initiatives. Working collaboratively with other progressive organisations, the Plan takes advantage of the economic opportunities that arise from a clean energy and low-emissions industry landscape.

The Climate Action Plan is listed for consideration at Tuesday’s Ordinary Council Meeting and replaces the 2020 Carbon and Water Management Action Plan (CWMAP). The Plan sets new targets and outlines innovative and sustainable programs to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Climate Action Plan would build upon the achievements of recent years that has led to Newcastle being recognised as one of Australia’s leading Cities in sustainability.

“City of Newcastle has formally committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and we accept there is a global climate emergency. We owe it to our children to prioritise concrete action on climate change.

As Novocastrians, we have seen firsthand the impacts of climate change, be it the erosion of Stockton Beach or increasingly severe storms that beached the Pasha Bulka,” Cr Nelmes said.

“The Climate Action Plan sets ambitious goals and priorities for the next five years and follows the successful delivery of our previous Plan which included the transition to 100 percent renewable electricity.

“The City, in developing this Plan, has worked closely with the community, business and industry, while assessing global best practice and applying it in a local context.

“Over the next five years we’ll take advantage of emerging technology and utilise more recycled and low-emissions materials in our operations.

“We’ll also look to our large fleet of vehicles and will work on a transition to electric vehicles as they become more prevalent, diverse and economically competitive. City of Newcastle, in collaboration with other city partner organisations, has been slowly investing in the rollout of vehicle charging infrastructure to support the international shift to electric vehicles.”

“We’re proud to be one of the most progressive cities in the country when it comes to tackling climate change and are confident this new Plan will keep us moving down this path of sustainability. It’s important that as a city leader we respond to the increasing calls from our community to tackle what is this generations most important challenges.”

In the next five years under the Climate Action Plan, City of Newcastle will:

· Reduce fuel use by 50% through transitioning CN’s fleet to electric options

· Reduce electricity use by 30% by switching all lighting to LEDs (or equivalent)

· Increase renewable energy and battery storage

· Support development of sustainable infrastructure

· Encourage new community renewable energy projects

Under the previous climate plan, City of Newcastle has:

· Reduced electricity usage by 21 per cent

· Upgraded 31 per cent of streetlights to LEDs

· Secured 100 per cent of electricity from renewable sources

· Reduced potable water usage by more than 14 per cent

· Slashed the City’s carbon footprint by 77 per cent for all operations other than waste

· Reduced liquid fuel use by 7 per cent

City of Newcastle is a founding member of Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), a founding member of the Business Renewables Centre, a member of the Cities Power Partnership, a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and recently became a Pioneer City for ICLEI’s CitiesWithNature program.