Sydney at the Climate Frontline

At Council on Monday night we will vote to adopt three pieces of important work that will help the City address climate change: the Energy Efficiency Master Plan; the Climate Adaptation Strategy; and the Residential Apartments Sustainability Plan.

There is no more important issue for the long-term success of Sydney than addressing climate change. We know that the effects are already being felt, and by 2070 our city will be more than 3 degrees warmer than it is today.

At the start of this week, President Barack Obama declared climate change to be the greatest threat to the future of the planet and pledged to cut US carbon emissions from power plants by 32 per cent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.

We need strong national and international commitments to tackle climate change, but the City of Sydney is not waiting - we are acting.

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The City of Sydney is on track to cut over 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year from City-owned buildings.

Solar panels have been installed across 22 City sites including buildings, grandstands and depots, producing 945,263 kWh of power per year. When the project is completed, panels will be installed in around 30 buildings and cover a combined area of more than 12,000 square metres - nearly twice the area of a football field.

Public lighting accounts for a third of the City's annual electricity use and 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. We have now replaced 6,150 conventional street and park lights with LEDs, saving nearly $800,000 a year in electricity bills and maintenance costs and reducing our emissions.

We've also retrofitted 45 City-owned properties to reduce electricity and water use, which is saving more than $1 million a year.

The City's Renewable Energy Master Plan outlines how 100 per cent of the City's electricity, heating and cooling can come from renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and energy from waste, by 2030.

Business

The City is working with businesses to reduce emissions and make significant energy, water and financial savings through programs including Smart Green Business, CitySwitch and the Better Buildings Partnership.

The City-led Better Buildings Partnership covers more than half of Sydney CBD's commercial floor space. Members have reduced their emissions by 35 per cent since 2006 and cut their energy bills by $30 million a year since the partnership was established

The City-led national CitySwitch Green Office energy-efficiency program works with 212 commercial tenants in NSW. Last year members saved 86,506 tonnes of carbon emissions nationally.

The City's Smart Green Business program has assisted more than 400 small, medium and large-sized businesses on energy, water and waste savings worth more than $3 million.

100 Resilient Cities

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Accepting our membership in the 100 Resilient Cities.

Climate change is putting pressure on our city in a variety of ways and Sydney has been selected to participate in the 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The City of Sydney has already brought together representatives from Greater Sydney's 41 councils, state and federal governments, not-for-profit organisations, businesses, universities, emergency services and utilities to create a plan to help Sydney cope with extreme events like April's torrential storms and last summer's heat waves.

100 Resilient Cities was launched in 2013 as a $100 million commitment to help cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges we will face this century.

Officials and leaders from over 700 cities applied for the program. Paris, Wellington, Singapore, Melbourne and Athens are among the 35 most recent cities invited to join the network from among almost 350 that applied.

A global deal in Paris

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Join us at the City Talk in August.

A global agreement is an essential part of our response to climate change.

At our City Talk in August Connie Hedegaard, Chair of the OECD Round Table for Sustainability, will address this very important issue. In her role as European Commissioner for Climate Action and Danish Minister for the Environment, Climate and Energy, Connie has been instrumental in setting a global course for a low-carbon future.

I invite you to join us for this important discussion. Find out more here.

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