We could go carbon neutral almost immediately is the advice Council received at a briefing last night. At our operational level at least.
At the briefing, Council received an introduction to our emerging Climate and Energy Plan. A plan that will hopefully be ready to endorse next February.
Back to carbon neutral. Let us start by assuming our total “carbon footprint” is 2,000 tCO2-e per annum. Assuming also a “market price” for carbon offsets of $20 per tonne per annum. Couple this with operating costs of say $ 10,000 per annum, we could simply buy our way to Carbon neutrality with an expenditure of $ 50,000.
That is around $ 2.00 per ratepayer. Problem solved; we are carbon neutral. That easy.
Is this a responsible approach? Not in my opinion. I have always been challenged, ever since the initial promotion of purchasing carbon offsets.
What we need, I believe, is A CLEVER PLAN. I am confident this is what will be presented to us in the new year.
I think we (elected members and our community) all recognise we need to set some targets. Zero emissions by a given date. A plan that does more than that though. One that helps us to identify the opportunities to improve when they arrive and recognise them for what they are.
A plan that replicates what we have done in the past. Like seizing the opportunity to change our street lighting to LEDs. With street lighting being half of our power bill which, in turn, is 67% of our operational emissions the switch the LED lighting has had a huge impact on reducing our contribution to global warming.
Last night’s presentation was positive. I look forward to seeing the plan come to a point where we can consider it and endorse it. A plan that, rather go carbon neutral almost immediately, creates some real tangible improvements to our local environment.
I trust you too, will be keen to see it when it is ready for “consumption”.