Australian Climate Action Summit

(8.50am, Saturday 22 June 2013, Sydney Secondary College Blackwattle Bay)

Thank you, Phil [Bradley MC]. Good morning everyone, and welcome to this fifth Australian Climate Action Summit.

I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

I'd also like to thank Uncle Greg Simms for his Welcome to Country and to acknowledge Jamie Parker, Member for Balmain, John Kaye, MLC, Lee Rhiannon, and Luke Foley, MLC.

This Action Summit comes at an important time for us all. Now, more than ever, we need to pool our knowledge and resources to demand that State and Federal governments promote decisive action on climate change, and begin to introduce some of the initiatives already adopted in other countries.

Germany, for example, has developed a transition plan to shift the country from reliance on nuclear, coal, natural gas and oil to a whole range of renewables that will supply 80 per cent of its energy needs by 2050.

Why aren't we developing a similar plan for Australia?

At the City of Sydney, we are committed to action.

The strategies outlined in the City's Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan are being implemented across our properties.

Since 2006, we've reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 19 per cent despite increases in our property portfolio in that time.

By 2016 emissions will be down by 29 per cent. The ultimate goal is a 70 per cent reduction by 2030 based on 2006 levels.

The City was the first Australian government to be carbon neutral, a status we've enjoyed since 2008.

We've become the first Australian city to install energy-efficient LED street and park lights.

We've embarked on Australia's largest building-mounting solar panel project. It will supply up to 12.5 per cent of the power needs of our City properties.

Emissions from our fleet have been reduced by 20 per cent.

And through the Better Buildings Partnership we have forged alliances with major property owners in the CBD to cut emissions and improve the sustainability of office buildings.

Our Environmental Upgrade Agreements are making it easier for building owners to access capital for building retrofit projects. We've recently signed our first agreement with Frasers Property which ensures that four thousand future residents of the Central Park development will soon be using low-carbon energy.

After the most detailed investigation ever undertaken of renewable energy resources in and around Sydney, we have a draft plan showing how all of central Sydney's electricity, heating and cooling needs could be met from renewable electricity and gases by 2030.

The City of Sydney is committed to the use of trigeneration to help us reduce our emissions.

There are city-wide trigeneration networks in New York, Berlin and Seoul, and China has just announced a massive trigeneration action plan.

Trigeneration is important because it can reliably supply the power, heating and cooling requirements that big cities like Sydney need to function every hour of every day of the year.

While economic and regulatory barriers mean that we have just deferred work at this time on precinct trigeneration at Green Square, we will instead proceed with a network that services the Sydney Town Hall precinct.

We currently face the absurd situation where precinct-wide trigen is treated as power sent from the Hunter Valley, even though it is locally produced with less than half the carbon emissions of coal-fired power!

These barriers don't have the same impact on buildings that we own ourselves and are in close proximity, as is the case with Sydney Town Hall, Town Hall House and the Queen Victoria Building.

This precinct has the potential to contribute 11 per cent of the City's 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets.

We are also investigating the design, and construction of initiatives to convert waste into renewable gases for trigeneration.

And we've started design work on a new low carbon fuel cell project to heat and power facilities at Prince Alfred Park Pool.

We will continue to investigate technologies and innovation, and to provide leadership on this vital issue.

With your help and support, we will continue to argue the case with the State and Federal governments for a changed regulatory regime that is suitable for the changed demands of the 21st century.

So I wish you all a very productive meeting, and once again, I'm pleased to welcome you here.

Thank you.