Special Webinar: Setting Science Based Climate Targets for Local Government and the Impact of 1.5 Degree Paris Agreement

For decades, Australian local governments have been at the forefront of climate action, even in the face of challenging federal and state policy environments. Councils have implemented energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on their assets and with their communities that have resulted in millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas abatement and have worked with and mobilised communities to join the challenge at the grass roots level. Fast forward to 2016 and the successful Paris Agreement adopted in December last year represents a historic turning point in the international fight against climate change.

Special Webinar: Setting Science Based Climate Targets for Local Government and the Impact of 1.5 Degree Paris Agreement
When: Monday 20th June 2016 10:30am-11:30am AEST
Where: Your desk
How: This webinar has concluded but a recording is available below. For a copy of the presentation and 15-page Q&A Report please click here.

Central to the adoption of the Paris Agreement are items of critical importance to Australian councils. The first is around how Australian councils set localised science based targets that align with the ambitious target of the Paris Agreement to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees. The second is that the Paris Agreement explicitly recognizes and engages local and subnational governments, which is a significant success for councils and regions around the world.

So now what?

Since the Paris conference the dust has settled and in April 2016 a total of 175 countries officially signed the Paris Climate Agreement at the United Nations. Australia was one of these 175 countries.

This means Australia has committed to implementing an economy-wide target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The strength of this target can and should be debated, but it is a national target and Australia has signed the Paris Agreement. This means Australian councils now have a critically important role to play – and indeed a more powerful advocacy position than ever – in ensuring that national targets are met, and giving the world the best chance of meeting the overarching 1.5-degree target.

This means councils need to understand the importance of setting local climate targets that are based on science and in doing so reflect the 1.5 degree target agreed to in Paris. To do this requires moving away from the traditional approach of setting targets based on criteria such as available budget; community expectations; executive support and known actions. It means moving towards a science-based approach to setting targets that is derived from analysis completed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Australian Climate Change Authority (CCA).

Special Council Webinar

In late June 2016, Ironbark held a special council webinar to explain more out more about setting "science-based" climate targets. Drawing on Ironbark’s decades of experience working with councils in Australia and internationally, the webinar examined:

  • The history of councils setting targets for internal operations (corporate targets) and broader municipality (community targets)
  • History and experience of councils meeting (or not meeting) their targets
  • The difference between stretch goals / absolute / per capita goals
  • How “science-based targets” differ to previous approaches
  • How Australian councils approached setting science-based targets since Paris are changing
  • The international perspective and how cities around the world have approached setting targets
  • Corporate versus community goals and how to obtain community data
  • Linking to broader programs local and international what’s next following Paris.
  • How to determine what is a “fair share” carbon budget scaled to a local government level.

A recording of the webinar is available below, and the presentation and a "Q&A Report" answering every question from the webinar (and after the webinar) can be downloaded here.