Waverley Council has strengthened its community target for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos explains why.

“The Waverley community is passionate about the environment and sustainability, and that’s why we were one of the first local governments to set ambitious Council and community targets to realise our environmental goals through a detailed and funded 10-year plan."

At last month’s Council meeting I was delighted to gain full support for my Mayoral Minute to strengthen our community emissions target – bringing it forward by 15 years to Net Zero by 2035, because climate change is one of the most important issues facing our community.   We are seeing more extreme weather events, and over the last six years Waverley has seen its fair share of East Coast Lows, storm surges and destructive high tides.

2050 is way too off in the future and doesn’t align with the latest scientific research, which shows that global temperatures are rising and there’s an urgent need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, Waverley Council declared a State of Climate Emergency and in July last year, we became one of the first organisations in Australia to declare a net zero target by 2030, accelerating our operational net zero goal by 20 years.

Historically, achieving Waverley’s community emissions targets has been extremely challenging. However, over the next decade significant emissions reductions will become attainable through the “greening of the grid”, which is being driven by renewable energy and net zero policies and targets.

Council has requested a report with costed actions to support the community to achieve the net zero by 2035 target. The report is to contain information on potential activities such as boosting local solar or batteries, supporting electrification of buildings and other strategies to ensure our homes, workplaces, schools and transport choices support this exciting transition.

You’ll be able to read more and provide your ideas when we share our next Environmental Action Plan for community consultation, next month - which details medium and long-term targets and strategies to protect our environment in waste, water use, climate resilience, biodiversity, and transport.

From 1 July, the Council will also be operating on 100% renewable energy as a result of a landmark $180 million renewable energy deal brokered by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) with electricity retailer ZEN Energy.

The landmark retail electricity agreement will deliver over 214 gigawatt hours of electricity per year to 25 councils across NSW including Waverley, Randwick and Woollahra.

Author: Paula Masselos