Hutt City Council voted to set itself a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 at last night’s Council meeting.
The zero carbon target reflects Council’s commitment to environmental resilience and sustainability, and aligns to the Government’s signalled intentions to do the same via the Zero Carbon Bill, a measure that the Council endorsed earlier this year. The zero carbon target will apply to the Hutt City Council and its Council-Controlled Organisations.
“We all value the wonderful natural environment we live in. Communities across the country, and indeed around the world, realise that change is needed. The time is right to start the important journey to safeguard future generations,” says Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace.
“Climate change is one of the key environmental, social and economic challenges facing the country and is one that’s intergenerational in its effects. We recognise that positive measures taken now to reduce carbon emissions will minimise future climate related adverse events.”
One of the goals of Council’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy is to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by being energy efficient, making it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport, managing landfills well, and ensuring Lower Hutt has plenty of green space and trees.
“It’s time to make real change. Setting a target is the first step on the way to making that change happen. We have agreed a pathway to zero carbon which is likely to include reducing net emissions by 40% by 2030, 70% by 2040 and 100% by 2050.
“In some areas of our operation such as the vehicle fleet and specifying environmentally-friendly heating sources for new builds we may achieve early wins. In other areas, such as landfills, our job will be harder due to the relatively high level of emissions but we are up for the challenge.
“We know we need to work together in every aspect of our activities to achieve the zero carbon target, including when we’re planning and developing Council facilities,” commented Ray Wallace.
“We believe a target will help drive growth and innovation across our business and means we will be well-placed to share our experience with other local authorities and businesses.”
The next step for Council is to assess measures and cost the steps required to reduce its carbon footprint. Heating energy sources, options for key Council infrastructure, buildings and facilities, the vehicle fleet, procurement, and current and future waste management approaches will be considered in light of the zero carbon target. Setting specific performance measures for Council activity areas will form part of the review. This work will be completed in the coming months and reported back to Council in 2019.