Submission: Zero Carbon Moreland Action Plan 2020-2025

September 28, 2019 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Moreland Zero Carbon action Plan 2020-2025

We welcome the work Council staff have put into the development of a Zero Carbon Moreland Action Plan 2020/21-3024/25, building upon the Moreland Zero Carbon 2040 Framework (Doc). This is a substantial and well thought out Framework plan.

We appreciate that we have already had an opportunity to substantially contribute in the plan preparation through the Brains Trust workshops.

The following points are offered to further improve the plan.

Executive Summary highlighted points:

  • Energy Transition: concern over timing of transition of aquatic centres from fossil gas
  • Sustainable Transport: Advocacy on Flying Less and aviation emissions
  • Sustainable Transport: Support for new Low Carbon mobility solutions
  • Sustainable Transport: Support for Hydrogen and low emissions Fuels
  • Sustainable Transport: Active Transport differentiation of walking and cycling needs
  • Waste and Consumption: Stronger and earlier advocacy on plant based diets
  • Waste and Consumption: Urban Community Food Production
  • Drawdown: Moreland’s Urban Forest
  • Drawdown: Advocacy for retention of high carbon forests in Melbourne hinterland
  • Drawdown: Cities for Forests
  • Drawdown: Investigate Opportunities for biochar
  • Measurement: Public reporting on per capita and total emissions for Moreland

John Englart
Convenor
Climate Action Moreland

Regular reviews and assessments of progress

Under the Zero Carbon Moreland 2040 Framework Moreland Council will undertake regular reviews and reassessments:

  • Develop a Zero Carbon Action Plan – Five-yearly
  • Review / refresh the 2040 Framework – Five-yearly
  • Progress report to Council – Annual
  • Complete a Moreland community GHG emissions profile – Four-yearly (or otherwise as required)

Framework driving Council policies addressing the climate emergency

Vision for 2040

The vision for zero carbon emissions community from the Framework document:

By 2040 Moreland has transitioned to become a zero carbon community.

Our 2040 vision for Energy Transition achieves the goal of Efficient and 100% renewably powered energy:

  • The buildings we live and work in are highly energy efficient – well insulated and built or retrofitted for comfort
  • Households and businesses generate, store and export renewable electricity locally
  • The national grid is powered by 100% renewable energy
  • Homes and businesses are powered only by electricity, following a supported phase-out of gas
  • Residents and businesses are proactive and engaged energy users and help to manage demand by smart use of electricity and local storage
  • Energy is often generated and traded at a community level, so everyone can access local, renewable energy even if they cannot produce it on their home.

Our 2040 vision for Sustainable Transport achieves the goal of Active and zero emissions transport:

  • Most people choose to walk or cycle to get around locally because its healthy, free, safe and convenient
  • Moreland is known for its pedestrian and cycle-friendly streetscapes
  • Many residents work, play and access services close to home, in ‘20 minute neighborhoods’ designed to suit people (rather than cars)
  • Renewable-powered buses, trams and trains provide a quick, reliable and affordable way to travel
  • Use of electric ‘car/ride share’ services complement active travel and public transport options, helping to reduce private vehicle ownership
  • Low rates of private car ownership have seen car parks converted to green and public open spaces
  • Clean and quiet freight trucks (fueled by renewable hydrogen or electricity) complement ‘last mile’ freight delivery by bikes, electric scooters and vans.

Our 2040 vision for Waste and Consumption achieves the goal of a Circular economy with zero waste:

  • Households and food businesses avoid generating food waste (and save money!)
  • A ‘conscious consumer’ mindset is the norm where waste is seen as a resource. Consumption is reduced as the community reduces what it purchases, then re-uses, repurposes, recycles, and buys recycled
  • People enjoy low-carbon diets
  • Local reuse, exchange, share and recycling groups and services are thriving
  • Local businesses prosper by creating or providing sustainable goods and services
  • Many products are made from recycled materials and are easy to recycle in Australia
  • All organic waste is composted or processed to create other useful products (such as mulch, compost, biogas, biochar)
  • Waste collection and processing is powered by renewable energy
  • Moreland’s contribution to landfill gas emissions are minimal, and residual emissions are captured to generate electricity
  • Melbourne Water’s wastewater management generates zero net emissions.

Submission: Zero Carbon Moreland Action Plan 2020-2025

1. Energy Transition

We are mostly happy with the detailed program for energy transition to reach 100 per cent renewables powering Moreland by 2040. We highlight one concern:

Use of Fossil gas in Aquatic Centres

We note the transition of Council aquatic centres away from using fossil gas for heating has been placed as a longer term opportunity, perhaps in 2025-2030. We note that the co-gen capabilities of the gas systems at the aquatic centres is currently turned off (Has not worked), which reduces the substantial cost benefits of using gas.

Note: A motion of Council was passed unanimously in July 2019 to “include the investigation and feasibility of a planned ‘phase out’ of fossil gas and replacement with renewable energy sources in time for the redevelopment of the Fawkner Leisure Centre.”

Council should closely monitor costs of continued operation, with the costs of transition to alternatives such as electric heat pumps to look at moving this transition forward.

2. Sustainable Transport

We are substantially happy with the detailed program for sustainable transport transition while appreciating that major drivers for public transport in this area involve buy in by state and Federal Government.

We note current community driven active transport and public transport campaigns, including to increase amenity with level crossing removal in the Bell to Moreland Coburg project by the Upfield Corridor Coalition, the revitalised Walk on Moreland campaign, and the Upfield Transport Alliance campaign for track duplication and extension with the aim to achieve a 10 minute service on the Upfield Line, and cycling campaigns to Extend the Upfield Bike Path and Brunswick for Bikes.

Advocacy on Flying Less and aviation emissions

We note the item, “collaborate to deliver travel behaviour change campaigns”. An essential component is raising awareness of the carbon intensity of flying, encouraging people to stop flying or fly less. Important to support campaigns when they get off the ground in Australia on aviation emissions, and also support for east coast high speed rail network as an alternative to some of the busiest domestic aviation routes globally.

Support for new Low Carbon mobility solutions

Moreland Council should be examining new low carbon mobility solutions as they arise, and be prepared to undertake trials to incorporate new mobility solutions as part of the Moreland Integrated Transport Solutions Strategy.

Support for Hydrogen and low emissions Fuels

Moreland Council already supports Electric Vehicle charging. Renewables generated hydrogen should also be assessed as this area develops, and how hydrogen fuels can be encouraged for business and resident use, and as part of Moreland’s own corporate fleet.

Active Transport differentiation of walking and cycling needs

Care needs to be taken with active transport advocacy and new infrastructure. The needs of pedestrians and cyclists are not the same. There needs to be more careful reflection of when infrastructure is shared, and when it needs to be separated or dedicated.

3. Waste and Consumption

We are substantially happy with the detailed program for Waste and consumption. The target of zero waste to landfill by 2030 is ambitious and helps drive transition in this sector.

Stronger and earlier advocacy on plant based diets

We note that ‘Collaborate to encourage adoption of low carbon plant-based diets’ has been placed in the Longer term. The IPCC special report on Land and Climate identified the need to change agricultural practices and encourage people to adopt a plant based diet to reduce agricultural emissions. The debate at the August 2019 Council meeting on adopting a meatless Monday policy for catering of Council events on Monday demonstrated that even some of our local decision makers don’t appreciate the extent of the climate crisis, unwilling to support a small symbolic action.

Urban Community Food Production

We note that projects such as CERES and Fawkner Food Bowls play a vital role in urban agriculture and building community resilience. They also contribute in a very small way to carbon drawdown through improving urban soils.

4. Drawdown

Drawdown is a difficult area for an inner urban council to propose effective strategies, but all the more reason to include this as an important, though relatively small area for action.

Moreland’s Urban Forest

Moreland has already adopted an Urban Forest Strategy. This is the primary driver of carbon sequestration and drawdown in the municipality.

Unfortunately with present urban consolidation total tree canopy within Moreland is still reducing, despite the Council commitment to plant and maintain 5000 trees per year in park parklands and street verges, and steps to establish a significant tree register

At some stage the carbon sequestration of Moreland’s Urban Forest should be calculated and form part of the Zero Carbon Framework.

Advocacy for retention of high carbon forests in Melbourne hinterland

The Mountain Ash forests in the Central Highlands are known as some of the most carbon dense forests in the world. They are important for carbon sequestration, habitat for threatened wildlife, and are an essential part of Melbourne’s water catchment. Moreland Council should advocate strongly for the effective management and conservation of these forests for their carbon sequestration value in particular, and alsot the general environmental services they provide for the people of Melbourne and surrounds.

Cities for Forests

Consideration should be given for Moreland joining Cities for Forests campaign as part of general advocacy. https://cities4forests.com/

Investigate Opportunities for biochar

There may be opportunities for small scale biochar production and use as part of vegetation management and urban agriculture. Council should research and investigate a biochar trial as an opportunity for carbon drawdown. This could be done co-operatively with other urban councils such as Darebin, Yarra, City of melbourne.

5. Monitoring Progress

Public reporting on per capita and total emissions, and emissions reduction over time, would be useful.

Sharing the measurement methodology with other Councils would provide an opportunity for useful comparative measurement and assessment.

 

Conclusion

Meeting a zero net emissions target by 2040 will pose difficulties, and require input and actions by other levels of Government, business and individuals. We appreciate the target being set and the formulation of five year activity plans to detail how to reduce emissions, evaluate the process and adjust for the following five year plan.

There is an imperative to rapidly transform social behaviours to be more sustainable and low carbon emissions, and this includes encouraging infrastructure changes and changes in behaviour by businesses and individuals that reside or work in Moreland.

We note the projected increase in population in Moreland of 37,000 people by 2036 with already limited public space, high levels of automobile air pollution, traffic congestion, and need to green our public streets with more canopy trees to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

We note Moreland Council has acknowledged we have a climate emergency at the September 2018 Council meeting implying that emissions reduction and change in community behaviour is an important priority of Council.

Our need to reduce emissions as quickly as possible is driven by the science. We note the importance of the following scientific review reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the last year that have highlighted the crisis we face and the need for substantive action.

We urge that the Summary for Policymakers of each of these reports should be carefully read by key decision makers in Moreland Council (both Councillors and staff), as well as other tiers of government, and corporate Australia.

IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C, October 2018, https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

IPCC Special Report on Climatechange andLand, August 2019, https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/

IPCC Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, September 2019, https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/home/

About Our Group

Climate Action Moreland is a grassroots climate action group that was started in 2008, with a strong local focus addressing climate issues in Moreland, and advocacy at local, state and federal levels for strong and rapid climate action.

Climate change is an important imperative for Moreland citizens:

  • We know that climate change is already affecting us in Moreland with more frequent and intense heat events, more torrential rainfall events producing flash flooding.
  • As a highly urbanised municipality, Moreland is has a strong urban heat island effect.

Climate Action Moreland recognizes climate change is an existential problem that needs to be addressed through declaration of a climate emergency and plans for rapid implementation of emissions reduction to zero carbon emissions and development of carbon drawdown techniques.

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