Real climate action has been one of key issues for The Greens in the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) election.

This year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made very clear that urgent action is needed to keep global warming within limits we can reasonably adjust to.

The Greens recognise that QPRC has made a start with its 2020 council operations and community Climate Change Action Plans but needs to do much more. This is especially the case through its influence over greenhouse gas emissions generated by the community which account for 99% of emissions in the QPRC local government area (LGA).

After the NSW Government strengthened its targets in early October, The Greens called on QPRC to match this. We are pleased to see the council has done that. On 20 October this year, the council published an updated version of both its council operations and community climate change action plans. The changes reflect the NSW Government’s emission reduction targets and read:

Energy & Transports Emissions (Council Operations): 30% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 from 2012-13 baseline levels. This is in-line with the Moderate (45% reduction by 2030) Emissions Reduction Pathway stated in this document.

Community Emissions: support the NSW Government in their goal to reduce the State’s (communities) emissions by 50% by 2030 (from 2005 levels) and net zero emissions by 2050.

The fact remains, however, that we do not know what emissions were in 2005 because QPRC has not published a measurement. Without this baseline, we cannot know how far the LGA is from meeting the targets. That means we need to do as much as we can, as fast as we can, to reduce the emissions from council’s operations because it is an emissions source that QPRC can quickly reduce.

The core weakness of the community action plan is that it still has no clear pathway to reduce emissions. The Greens say that the council needs to help the community achieve the new targets in the community plan by making changes to building regulations and other planning instruments, stepping up on sustainable and active transport (including advocacy for public transport services), doing more to reduce waste to landfill and supporting climate action groups in towns, villages and rural districts through a facilitation role.

One way would be to set up a working group with representation from across our LGA to guide the rollout of the community action plan. An example is a reference group established by Mildura Rural City Council. The Greens will work for this, or a similar arrangement, if we are elected to QPRC on 4 December.

Authorised by D. Hayden for The Greens NSW. Suite D, 263-279 Broadway, GLEBE NSW 2037.