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City of Yarra

Represented by Michael Oke, Sustainability Unit Manager

Answer

How does your organisation address climate change?

Yarra City Council’s first Climate Emergency Plan, endorsed by Council in June 2020, sets longer-term objectives for Council’s response to the climate emergency and identifies strategic priorities to focus our work over the next four years. The objectives of our Climate Emergency Plan are:

  1. Achieve zero-net emissions across the entire Yarra community by 2030, and accelerate the removal of excess carbon emissions
  2. Enable our community to take effective climate action — pushing for urgent change and changing the way we live and work
  3. Ensure our community is safe, healthy, and resilient — especially those most vulnerable to severe climate impacts
  4. Create a city that continues to adapt to a changing climate and is ecologically healthy for all species
  5. Collaborate and advocate with others in the climate emergency movement to increase our impact

So far we:

  • Are delivering a wide range of community-focused climate action programs which aim to support our community to be part of the collective movement applying pressure on governments to step up their climate policies, make lifestyle changes to cut individual and household carbon emissions, and prepare for and cope with worsening climate impacts.
  • Have installed nearly 3,000 solar panels on 38 council buildings
  • Are powering all our operations with 100% renewable electricity
  • Have reduced our organisation’s total carbon emissions by more than 70% since 2008/09
  • Have been a carbon-neutral organisation since 2012
  • Are transitioning all our buildings and facilities to be all-electric, powered by 100% renewable energy with no use of gas
  • Are continuing to create and improve cycling paths including safe, separated bike lanes
  • Are planting more trees
  • Are creating climate-adapted green spaces by harvesting more stormwater to maintain our park
  • Are working towards requirements for new commercial and residential developments to achieve our zero carbon standards.

Yarra City Council also reports on commitments made via a range of mechanisms including reporting to the Global Covenant of Mayors.

What is your organisation doing to create a better future?

Key commitments in our Climate Emergency Plan include:

  • 'Get off gas’ by transitioning all of Council’s buildings to electric, powered by 100% renewable energy, by 2030
  • Transition all Council’s fleet to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy by 2025
  • Speed up the roll-out of cycling infrastructure by trialing temporary bike lanes to inform permanent upgrades
  • Create climate-adapted green spaces by harvesting more stormwater to irrigate our parks
  • Introduce zero carbon standards for new commercial and residential developments, working with other government partners to amend the planning scheme
  • Enable our community to cut their carbon emissions and collectively push for the urgent climate action we need
  • Help residents and businesses take up renewable energy and facilitate solar installations
  • Advocate for urgent climate action by other levels of government, including strong renewable energy and carbon emissions reduction targets, along with policy and economic measures that both enable recovery from the pandemic and drive emissions reductions.

Read more about City of Yarra’s climate commitments here.