Why Action on Climate?


Greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, are causing unprecedented levels of global warming and climate change, so much so that we are facing a climate emergency. 

We are beginning to see the impacts of a changing climate on our everyday lives. The effects of climate change will be experienced in Newcastle through an increasing trend in the magnitude, intensity and frequency of climate and weather extremes, such as bushfire, heatwaves, droughts, floods and storms, with extensive economic, environmental and social costs for local communities. There are also indirect consequences of climate change to our health and wellbeing. 

We are in a critical decade for action on climate change, and cities are at the forefront of responding to the impacts of climate change that we are experiencing now, and that we are likely to experience in the future.  

Impacts of Climate Change

The impacts of human-caused climate change are already being felt in Newcastle, as well as across Australia and the world. Hotter average temperatures, bush fires and more extreme weather is affecting people, assets and ecosystems. These impacts will worsen if we do not stop the causes of climate change. 

The Hunter Climate Snapshot predicts that by 2050 the Hunter Region will experience the following climate change impacts.

Climate Change in the Hunter

[Original source: Climate Change in the Hunter ]

Climate change can exacerbate flooding by intensifying the frequency and severity of rainfall events, which can overwhelm drainage systems and waterways.  

Read more about how we are managing flood risk and how you can prepare for flooding.   

Climate change can exacerbate impacts on our coastal areas by increasing sea levels and coastal inundation. This, alongside more frequent and severe storms, can result in coastal erosion, damage to coastal assets, loss of wetlands and increased salinity intrusion into freshwater sources.  

Read more about our coastal management program.  

We are facing increasing temperatures, including higher daily average temperatures, more days above 35°C, and more frequent heatwave events. Because we are an urban environment, we also experience the urban heat island (UHI) effect, where hard surfaces, such as buildings, roadways and paving, reflect heat and create elevated ambient temperatures. 

We're working with our community on ways to reduce the impact of the UHI, like upgrading our precincts to incorporate cooling features, and increasing our urban forest for increased canopy cover.  

City of Newcastle's Emissions Profile

In 2020, City of Newcastle's greenhouse gas emissions totaled 5,098 t CO₂-e (excluding landfill emissions from Summerhill Waste Management Centre). 

With electricity removed as City of Newcastle’s main emission source, through the supply of 100% renewable electricity, the use of fossil-based liquid fuels, such as diesel and unleaded petrol, in council cars, trucks, plant and equipment now account for over 90% of City of Newcastle'remaining operational emissions.  

Wnow need to ensure that we maintain a 100% renewable electricity supply, through energy efficiency, upgrading existing legacy streetlights, increasing onsite solar PV and battery storage and a 100% renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement, whilst focusing on reducing our remaining emissions through the electrification of City of Newcastle’s fleet and operational vehicles, plant and equipment. 

Newcastle's emissions profile

In 2021/2022, the Newcastle Local Government Area emitted 2.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Close to half of the emissions were from electricity used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. The next highest source of emissions was from industrial processes and product use (IPPU), followed by transport emissions 

Newcastle emissions profiles

Source: Newcastle Emissions Snapshot 2021/22