2 July 2022

Wagga takes a leadership position on climate change

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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wind turbines at sunset

Wagga City Council hopes to achieve net zero emission with a number of plans. Photo: Karsten Würth.

Wagga City Council has pledged corporate net zero carbon by 2040 with multiple strategies in mind.

At a recent meeting the council adopted the amended Corporate Net Zero Emissions 2040 Strategy, which targets activities and infrastructure the council has operational or financial control over including electricity, gas, fuel, landfill operations, wastewater treatment and electricity for street lighting.

Strategies include improving waste management and education, reducing landfills, increasing solar panels and batteries and adopting a fleet of electric vehicles for council use.

Councillor Dan Hayes said the council could make significant changes to meet the set targets.

Councillor Richard Foley added that the council needed to look at how they could make money while achieving the net zero target and discussed the feasibility of whether the council could have a solar farm at the landfill site near the transmission line.

“We could put one acre of megawatt solar (10-megawatt solar panels), which would be an interesting way to make some money to fix our potholes,” he said.

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Councillor Rod Kendall said one of the main reasons he supported the corporate strategy is because it had an ongoing review of the targets.

“It is particularly important we don’t set in stone the targets that may become unachievable,” he said.

“None of us know today when the net zero will be achieved, but we can have all confidence that council will achieve it as a corporate entity.

“And it will be achieved, if I have any part to play in it, in an economical manner at the earliest possible time.”

He said achieving the net zero emissions would be a win for the council and the community and, if done in the most economical way, the council could attain short-term and long-term corporate savings.

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Councillor Tim Koschel said the council needed to set an aggressive target as community leaders.

“You can’t get more aggressive than zero,” he said.

“If we do fail to miss it and we’re better off than now, that’s good.”

Councillor Koschel said an evaluation would be needed, especially when the council looked at new infrastructure or new fleet management, to ensure it was done with net zero targets in mind.

The council will employ a four-year net zero emissions project officer to help deliver the corporate strategy.

The Australian Federal Government is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

To honour the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to below two degrees, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said global carbon emissions should reach net zero by 2050 at the latest.

Over 100 countries have already pledged to net zero emissions.

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