Climate Framework

Australian councils and communities have been taking action on climate change for decades. We know because we’ve worked with 260 of them on over a thousand projects in every state and territory.

We also understand the value of a structured approach and overarching framework for councils to engage with and learn from on their climate action journey. Our programs and partnerships with state local government associations, greenhouse alliances and ROCs (Regional Organisations of Councils) have resulted in successful energy efficiency and renewable projects being delivered throughout the country.

We take an evidence-based approach to climate action. We are only interested in developing council projects that will lead to real action. And we appreciate that a climate program must have a simple and logical framework that any council – big or small; rural, regional or metropolitan; starting the journey or well advanced – can buy into.

We don’t have a program ourselves, there are enough of these out there already. Instead our climate framework for local government is aligned with leading international and local council programs. Our team of 25 local government and sustainability experts are ready to give you the best advise through every step of the climate action journey


 

Insight

Always good to start at the start! You can’t manage what you can’t measure right? You need a handle and understanding of your corporate (internal) emissions and municipal-wide (community) emissions. This understanding allows councils to see the overall emissions they are trying to manage and where those emissions are broadly coming from. It’s not as hard as you think, and there are tools – some free – to assist.

Almost 72% of Australian councils have a corporate greenhouse gas inventory, either developed internally or with expert assistance. A handful have taken the extra step and ensured their inventory is NCOS-accredited for carbon neutrality status. Our advice depends on the councils – we’ve developed NCOS-accredited inventories for leading councils (most recently Moreland) taking account of every last greenhouse gas. For the vast majority of councils, an NGERs-compliant inventory will suffice. Over the last few decades our team have developed hundreds of them. We can explain which approach is best suited to your council.

Moving to the community side of the equation, the majority of councils (68%) do not have an emissions profile for their entire municipality. However, that is about to change with the launch of the Ironbark-BZE Snapshot tool, which will provide an emission profile compliant with the international Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) for every municipality in the land. This is built on the development of 100 GPC-compliant profiles over the last few years including regional approaches such as the City of Melbourne and C40-led Greater Melbourne Emissions Profile, the Sustainability Victoria Local Government Energy Savers (LGES) program and NSW councils working with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE, formally OEH).

Target

Our approach begins with the tenet that we all need to rapidly decarbonise and are in the critical decade to reduce emissions globally. Targets are an essential tool in drive this transition and we hold that most effective targets for council planning are evidence-based. This means developing science-derived targets or carbon budgets for councils throughout Australia. This approach can take the political sting out of setting targets because it is essentially set by externally recognised science.

Through our work with the Science Derived Targets Local Government Working Group, we’ve brought leading councils, alliances and ROCs together to determine how a “fair share” of the national carbon budget is distributed to Australian councils. We now have an easy way to set science-derived targets, in line with IPCC Guidelines, that can be coupled with “bottom-up” interim targets to track and monitor progress.

Action

Ironbark are increasingly working with councils on evidence-based action planning and strategies. When planning for action on climate change, councils should consider pathways to emissions reductions that will be effective and efficient. Thus, action planning should be based on data and intelligence that demonstrates the available opportunity and potential reductions.

One council’s strategy is another council’s pathway. We’ve developed them all – climate action strategies and plans from Bundaberg to Benalla;  Monash to Macedon Ranges; Noosa to Northern Grampians; Whitehorse to Whittlesea and dozens more in between.

Our evidence-based action planning and strategy development framework is designed to build up a repertoire of persistent, effective and scalable emissions reduction strategies for councils.

Strategy

Ironbark are increasingly working with councils on evidence-based action planning and strategies. When planning for action on climate change, councils should consider pathways to emissions reductions that will be effective and efficient. Thus, action planning should be based on data and intelligence that demonstrates the available opportunity and potential reductions.

One council’s strategy is another council’s pathway. We’ve developed them all – climate action strategies and plans from Bundaberg to Benalla;  Monash to Macedon Ranges; Noosa to Northern Grampians; Whitehorse to Whittlesea and dozens more in between.

Our evidence-based action planning and strategy development framework is designed to build up a repertoire of persistent, effective and scalable emissions reduction strategies for councils.

Evaluate

Australian local governments have traditionally evaluated projects almost exclusively for reporting purposes – if at all. Most monitoring and evaluation is high-level and light-touch. It is rare the monitoring and evaluation occurs throughout a project, and even rarer that project delivery is modified mid-project based on learnings.

We think it’s time to acknowledge that the local government sector has a lot of improvement to be made here. While reporting on internal or corporate projects is more common place, we are missing out on independent and robust MERL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning) throughout projects. How do we really know whether the intervention that a council undertakes is leading to the required and stated action? Are we too often throwing good money and resources at ineffective projects? MERL can and will help ensure that we are indeed taking an evidence-based approach to climate action. Let us know if you want to be a part of it.