City of Stonnington declares a climate emergency

Press Release | 17 February 2020

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At their meeting on 17 February 2020, City of Stonnington Councillors voted to declare a climate emergency.

City of Stonnington Mayor, Cr Steve Stefanopoulos, said the recent extreme weather conditions have highlighted the urgent need for all levels of government to take action.

“We are clearly in a state of climate emergency. This summer we’ve seen devastation across the country through bushfires, floods and unprecedented weather events.

“2019 was the hottest and driest year recorded in Australia, with 2010-2019 the hottest decade recorded world-wide.

“At a local level we’ve seen climate-driven extreme weather events that have had a significant impact on our environment, the local economy and human health such as major storms, poor air quality and contaminated rain.

“Our climate is changing and our community deserves an immediate and urgent response, the development of a Climate Action Response Plan will be a key part of how we do this.  

“By declaring a climate emergency we’re joining over 1,300 jurisdictions and local governments across the world.

“Some people will say this isn’t the role of local government but it absolutely is, everything starts at a local level and we’ll look to work with our partners at the state and federal levels.

“We’re proud of our work to date in response to climate change, but we recognise the need to accelerate what we’re doing so we’re responding accordingly.

“Developing a Climate Action Response Plan in partnership with our community will mean we can embed this in everything we do as an organisation.

“We will continue to reduce our greenhouse emissions, but also prepare for a changing climate, supporting the community along the way.

“A key part of this plan will be building on our own list of sustainability initiatives and looking at further ways we can engage and encourage residents and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.

“If you have ideas on how we can do this, we want to hear them. An extensive community engagement process will be announced in the coming weeks,” added Cr Stefanopoulos.

Sustainability focussed actions, initiatives, policies, programs and events adopted by the City of Stonnington include:

  • In 2015 we met our initial target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent below 2005 levels.
  • New targets set in 2018 aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by the end of 2020 and 60 per cent by 2030.
  • We have achieved a 26 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from our 2005 levels and are on track to meet this 2020 target.
  • Next month we are launching a food waste recycling program following a successful trial in select suburbs.
  • We are committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity through the Local Government Renewable Energy Project due to begin in July 2021.
  • 2,700 solar panels have been installed across 33 Council buildings and facilities with a generation capacity of 828kW.
  • Over 3,000 street lights, 97% of our lights, will be energy efficient by the end of February 2020.
  • Environmentally sustainable design (ESD) features have been incorporated into new developments, including TH King Pavilion, Dunlop Pavilion, Gardiner Pavilion and Prahran Square.
  • LED floodlighting is being installed at our sportsgrounds and tennis centres.
  • Our vehicle fleet includes 15 hybrid vehicles and one electric vehicle.
  • We have adopted Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) local planning policy requiring developers to include ESD considerations within their planning applications.
  • We have partnered with the Australian Energy Foundation for solar and energy efficiency support for residents - 178 Stonnington homes have installed 690kW of rooftop solar through this program.
  • We have delivered solar and battery storage information sessions for the community and tailored sessions for apartment buildings.
  • We are involved in the Solar Savers initiative to support rooftop solar for vulnerable households.
  • We have provided home energy assessments to residents to reduce energy bills and make homes more comfortable.
  • We provide support for local schools through the Stonnington Sustainable Schools program that offers incursions, excursions and student leadership programs.
  • We deliver a number of sustainability workshops and events like sustainable home tours, solar workshops and gardening and biodiversity sessions.

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