Climate Change

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Climate changes poses a serious threat to us all

It is now widely accepted that climate change poses a serious threat to all ecosystems, economies and societies. Tackling climate change is a crucial element in safeguarding the welfare of future generations, providing for inter-generational equity and protecting biological diversity, ecological processes and life support systems.

Human induced climate change is largely due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels since the industrial revolution.

On a global scale Australia is not a large emitter of greenhouse gases, but on a per capita basis we are one of the highest emitters. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the best possible way to limit the extent and future impacts of climate change.

What’s Council doing?

Council adopted a Climate Change Action Plan for its operations in August 2013. This plan commits Council to a target of a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (from a 2009-10 baseline). Details of the actions to be undertaken to achieve this target are contained in the Plan available here.

Council also adopted a Community Climate Change Action Plan in 2012. This plan was developed in close consultation with the community and will guide the actions that Council and the community can take to address climate change. You can view the results of the community survey here.

The Queanbeyan Community Sustainability Report 2014-2015 aims to provide the community with a review of the environmental performance of Council and actions taken to manage the local environment. You can view the Community Sustainability Report here.

Other projects in place at Council to address the challenges and opportunities of climate change include:

Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Management

Council undertook a climate change risk identification process with the assistance of Echelon and Statewide Mutual in 2011. These risks are being incorporated into Council’s Risk Register and appropriate risk mitigation and adaptation measures will be developed. The Climate Change Risk Assessment Adaptation Report can be accessed here.

Trees 4 Cars

Council's 'Trees 4 Cars' program commits Council to offsetting emissions from Council's fleet vehicles by planting 20 trees per vehicle. Nearly 500 native tress, shrubs and grasses were planted at Barrack's Flat by Council staff volunteers under this program in 2015-2016.  

Green Energy

Council purchases green power (from a wind farm) to offset carbon emissions from the sewage treatment works' energy consumption. These offsets resulted in the avoidance of approximately 1567 tonnes of CO2e emissions in 2014-2015.

Energy Efficiency Projects

Progress has been made at Council to improve the energy efficiency of our operations. Energy Audits have been undertaken at the Main administration building, the Works Depot and the Aquatic Centre. These audits identified a number of opportunities for improvement that are being implemented by Council and will lead to significant energy, cost and greenhouse gas savings.

Revolving Energy Reserve

Council adopted a Revolving Energy Reserve Policy in 2012 and a Revolving Energy Reserve was established to ensure the savings from energy efficiency projects are redirected back to fund further energy efficiency projects and ensure ongoing benefits.

Street Lights

Around 40% of Council’s greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to street lighting. This is an asset that Council has limited control over as an individual organisation. However, a bulk upgrade of Queanbeyan streetlights to more energy efficient lights was undertaken in partnership with Essential Energy in early 2012. This upgrade is expected to achieve a significant (approximately 13%) reduction in electricity consumption for street lighting - reducing operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar Power

A feasibility study was undertaken by Solar inception for solar power systems at multiple Council sites. The report (available here) suggests that a strong business case exists for deployment of on-site solar generation systems across a range of facilities throughout Council. Council has installed solar panels across a number of buildings including the library, The Q and RB Smith Community Centre.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy consumption

Council is attempting to monitor the community's greenhouse gas emissions under the Community Climate Change Action Plan.

The graph below outlines the community's electricity consumption and average mean maximum temperature from 2009-2015.

How will Climate Change affect the Queanbeyan region?

Summary of temperature and rainfall changes in the South East region to 2050

 Season Minimum
Temperatures
Maximum
Temperatures
Precipitation
Evaporation
Spring
1.5-3.0oC
warmer, particularly in the east
2.0-3.0oC
warmer
 5-20% increase in the central and southern
tableands
No change in the ACT and south coast
5-20% decline in the alps and monaro
10-20% increase in the north
No change in the south
Summer 1.5-2.0oC warmer
1.5-2.0oC warmer
20-50% increase
10-20% increase
Autumn
1.0-3.0oC warmer
2.0-3.0oC warmer
No change in the central and southern tablelands
5-10% increase on the south coast
5-20% decrease from the ACT south including the alps and monaro
No clear pattern
Winter
1.0-3.0oC warmer
2.0-3.0oC warmer
20-50% decrease in the central and southern tablelands, alps and monaro
No significant change on the south coast
No clear pattern    
Information from DECCW, 2010, NSW Climate Impact Profile: The impacts of climate change on the biophysical environment of New South Wales