National Science Week Welcome

(7pm 13 August 2012, Centennial Hall)

Thank you, Zan Rowe, MC. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nationalities who call our City home.

I'd like to welcome Dr Rob Stokes, Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and tonight's Sleek Geeks, Dr Karl and Adam Spencer and of course, this sell-out audience.

Welcome to Town Hall and welcome to the start of National Science Week!

In this United Nations Year of Sustainable Energy for All, the 2012 theme for Science Week is Energy Evolution and I am pleased to tell you that the City's energy supply will evolve from the inefficient coal fired grid into locally generated low-carbon precincts under our plan for trigeneration. Gas fired plants will generate low carbon electricity and the waste heat will be captured to heat and cool buildings in precincts.

Our goal is that by 2030 we will have reduced our emissions by 70%.

There will be four low-carbon precincts: City North - from Circular Quay to King Street; City South from Town Hall to Central; the Green Square Urban Renewal Area and Ultimo-Pyrmont, that will supply 70% of the City's energy needs, reduce carbon emissions by one third and save about $1.5 billion in avoided energy infrastructure while 30% of energy will be provided by renewables.

Science can give us the data. Used creatively and partnered with the political will to bring about real change, it will help us build a sustainable future.

Sydney has a rare opportunity to transform itself into a beautiful, world-leading sustainable and prosperous city if science and politics co-operate to solve problems and make the necessary changes.

Since I become Lord Mayor in 2004, climate change has been firmly on my agenda and we have gradually assembled a team of people to help us take action on the most pressing issue of this century.

State and national governments weren't terribly interested at that time, as we learnt at C40 meetings but cities were beginning to find new and ingenious ways of mitigating their impacts.

At the Seoul C40, we made it our business to investigate sustainable district heating and cooling, and waste-to-energy that has informed our tri-generation plans for Sydney.

And now, what we have learned from our international contacts - is coming full circle, with other major cities - particularly those in China - coming here to learn from what we are doing.

There are other discoveries to be made, other problems to be tackled, and we will need our scientists to find intelligent solutions.

But science has its lighter side, as well, as you're bound to discover tonight!

I urge you all to make the most of this week, celebrating science and our scientists, whether is at the Ultimo Science Festival, or at events at Redfern Community Centre, the former Teachers' College, at Sydney University, UTS or elsewhere across the city.

I wish you all a great week, and a terrific evening here at Town Hall.