Over the last decade, Australian councils and communities have been leading the way on climate action, delivering thousands of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that have resulted in greenhouse emissions reduction and community benefits throughout the land.
Flagship projects like the Melbourne Renewable Energy Program (MREP), Baw Baw Zero Emissions Zero, and the Light Years Ahead Western Sydney Energy Program have all been developed and implemented by councils and community groups. These are the tip of the iceberg.
However, one of the missing parts of the climate action-puzzle has long been a greater understanding of local greenhouse emissions sources: What are the major sources of carbon emissions for your community? Where should you be targeting action?
While over 100 Australian councils have developed greenhouse emissions profiles over the last few years, most councils (68%) still do not have an emissions profile for their entire municipality. The development of emissions profiles can be costly, time-consuming and confusing and a lot of unique technical knowledge is required to understand exactly how to get the most accurate and complete information to produce community profiles in a reliable form. What has been lacking is accessible, free and standardised community emissions profiles. For every community. For everyone council.
Ironbark has teamed up with Beyond Zero Emissions, Australia's premier climate solution research institute, to launch Snapshot, providing greenhouse gas emission profiles at the community level.
Snapshot is the first national tool providing municipal-wide greenhouse gas profiles for every council in Australia. Snapshot reports profile the major sources of carbon emissions for the entire municipality, including stationary energy, transport, waste, agriculture, and land-use change. All Australian municipality Snapshots will be online in the coming months and community groups and councils are being encouraged to contact Snapshot if they want theirs fast-tracked. In the meantime, jump on and check it out now!
Snapshot is underpinned by a common international framework, the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC Protocol) to allow for comparison between municipalities. With input from Australia’s leading experts and based on decades of experience working with hundreds of councils and community groups throughout Australia, the Snapshot data, methodology, and calculations have been independently verified and endorsed by ICLEI Oceania, Sustainability Victoria, and Renew.
We held an open webinar in November 2019 to discuss how councils and communities around Australia can use Snapshot to drive action! With special presentations and updates from BZE, Cities Power Partnership, ICLEI Oceania and Ironbark, we explained how Snapshot works; how to get the best out of it for your council or community; how to turn community emissions profiles into action; and looked to the future of Snapshot and emissions profiles with input and questions from attendees.
Missed it? A recording of the webinar is available below.
Genuine Collaborative Effort
Most of you will know that Ironbark has developed around 100 community-wide emissions profiles over the last few years. This started with the Cities of Port Phillip, Joondalup and Mornington Peninsular Shire in the lead-up to the Paris Climate Conference in 2015 as they sought to work through compliance for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM). Working with ICLEI Oceania we developed the City of Melbourne and C40 Cities-led Greater Melbourne Emissions Profile and through Sustainability Victoria’s Local Government Energy Savers (LGES) assisted regional and rural councils.
Our underlying approach has been that developing profiles for councils should not be costly or arduous. The process should be transparent and easy for councils to undertake, compliant with international protocols and practices, and not result in the duplication of effort or resources.
None of this could have happened without Beyond Zero Emissions. They’ve been working in this area as well for many years and found that a key barrier for many councils and local climate community action groups was the cost and expertise to develop local emissions profiles. They’ve been a brilliant, passionate and professional partner to work with and if you're not familiar with their work over the last decade then you need to get out more.
Snapshot was also supported generously by the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation, Sustainability Victoria and Renew. This team helped make a small idea into a living, breathing tool. We're pretty sure it's just the beginning.