Greenhouse gas emissions are not falling fast to achieve Queanbeyan-Palerang’s targets, according to the council’s 2020-21 annual report.

The report, presented to the council last week, shows that emissions from council’s operations rose 4% between 2017-18 and 2020-21, from 11,461 tonnes CO2 equivalent to 11,865t CO2 equivalent.

The council’s emissions target, updated in October this year following more ambitious targets set by the NSW government, is a 30% reduction on 202-13 levels by 2025, which the council is not on track to meet.

Crucially, the annual report does not have a 2012-13 (pre-merger) baseline. This is needed to be confident in progress towards achieving the target.

The council attributes the increase partly to the poor emissions data it has for 2017-18. Encouragingly, there was a 6.5% decrease in emissions between 2019-20 and 2020-21.

There is no data on emissions generated by the community for 2020-21. The report also shows fairly static emissions between 2017-18 and 2019-20 with just a small (0.6%) decrease between the two years, from 1,046,000t CO2 equivalent to 1,040,00t CO2 equivalent.

The community emissions (which are 82 times that of the council) are not on track to reach their revised target of a 50% decrease on 2005 emission levels by 2030. And like the council operations emissions data, there is no estimate of community baseline emissions in 2005, making it difficult to be confident about progress towards achieving the target.

The climate change action plans for council and community are a good start but we need to do much more and faster, including to:

  • develop the baseline (or reference) year emissions levels
  • prioritise the actions so they can be scheduled for implementing
  • allocate funding in each year to undertake the actions
  • develop a clear pathway to achieve the community emissions, which account for most of the local government area’s total.

Greens on QPRC will make stronger climate action a priority, including allocating funding in the 2021-22 council operational plan (budget).

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