Climate Change - Taking Action
Climate Emergency Declared
Council has declared a climate emergency and will work with the community to develop a Climate Action Plan 2020-30.
The declaration came as a response to a petition presented to Council at the August Council Meeting, signed by over 1,000 community members.
It acknowledges the requirement for immediate and urgent action to reverse global warming, and compliments current Council activities to reduce emissions and build community resilience against the impacts of global warming.
To develop our response, we will be fully engaging with our community to develop a comprehensive plan for the future and allow everyone to have a say on the type of climate emergency responses to tackling climate change, mobilising and taking action at scale and speed that will restore a safe climate with the least possible loss and damage during the transition.
A safe climate is defined as a climate that will allow existing and future generations, communities and ecosystems to survive and flourish.
Natural Environment Strategy
Our Natural Environment Strategy, outlines our commitment to preserve, protect, restore and enhance the natural environment across Bass Coast for the next 10 years. It sets the strategic direction for climate change and how the Council will be taking action.
How will climate Change affect us?
Gippsland faces a number of varying climate risks including:
- more frequent and intense heavy rainfalls causing flooding
- harsher bushfires
- more days of extreme heat
- sea level rise combined with storm surges, causing flooding and other impacts
- more storms including hailstorms (source: Climate Ready Victoria)
Gippsland Climate Ready provides more detail on how climate Change will affect the Gippsland region and how you can be climate-ready.
Join us and over 1000 other organisations to TAKE2. By making a pledge with the Victorian Government, you can be a part of Victoria's action on climate change to help our state achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Working together, we pledge to play our part and take action on climate change for Victoria, our country and our planet.
Further information is also available by contacting Council's Sustainable Environment team on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.
What can businesses, individuals and community groups do?
Sometimes climate change can seem like an overwhelming problem leaving you not knowing where to start, or if you can make a difference. In fact, our actions and the choices we make as individuals have a huge impact on our environment.
If everyone around the world changed their behaviour, it could make a significant difference to the world. Here are some ways you can make a change - starting in your own home.
The Victorian Government's Energy Saver website is packed with tips to save energy at home and take charge of your power bills, including rebates worth thousands of dollars.
Measure your footprint
You can use the Australian Greenhouse Calculator to take a look at your own carbon footprint, and identify areas you could focus on to reduce your carbon emissions.
Get Involved with a local action group
Bass Coast Climate Action Network (BCCAN) are a network of community members concerned about climate change impacts on the Bass Coast. They are working together for positive solutions and to encourage all levels of government to urgently act on climate change.
Energy Innovation Co-operative’s mission is "working together towards a zero emissions community". It is establishing community owned renewable energy generation, runs activities & events & newsletters, and its Southern CORE Fund supports community groups wanting to put solar PV, solar HW or energy efficiency measures onto buildings they run. It operates mainly within South Gippsland and Bass Coast Shires, but has members beyond, and has no geographic limitations in its rules. From Nov 2017 it can offer tax deductibility for any donations towards its work.
Totally Renewable Phillip Island is a community group formed in early 2018 in collaboration with a number of community groups including, the Energy Innovation Co-operative, Boomerang Bags and Plastic-free Phillip Island and San Remo, PICAL, Phillip Island Conservation Society, Phillip Island Landcare Group and Bimbadeen Farm. As a result a public forum was held in June 2018 where community members voted to support the formation of Totally Renewable Phillip Island and associated working ground and to pursue the draft vision outlined below:
“Phillip Island will be a carbon-neutral community by 2030 through our collective efforts to use clean and efficient energy, reduce pollution and offset carbon emissions"
Minimise Your Waste
Avoid creating rubbish in the first place. Minimise the amount of packaging you bring into your home. Buy quality products that won’t need to be replaced regularly to reduce you waste going to landfill.
- Recycle and Get it Right on Bin Night - by using your bins correctly you're making sure items can be recycled and used again, and aren't placed into landfill where they stay forever.
- Reduce your food waste - did you know the average Victorian household throws out approximately $2,200 worth of food each year?
- Use your Organics Bin - by introducing the three-bin system, we've made it even easier for you to keep your food and green waste out of landfill.
- Save Energy and make your home more comfortable - did you know that every degree above 20 degrees can add 10 per cent to the total cost of your heating bill? Here's 10 easy tips to keep your energy bills down. You can also learn how to take charge of your energy bill and understand your bill
- Install solar panels - Switch to solar at home and think about solar for your community group. Here's a checklist and some guidelines to help.
Solar Panels on Council Buildings
We've been investing and supporting Community groups to reduce their electricity bills and reduce the impact from community asset emissions through installing renewable energy. We encourage community groups to get in contact with their Council representative or the Sustainable Environment Team to start the conversation.
Installing solar panels on Council-owned or managed community buildings is quite complex and may not always be the best choice for your pocket or the environment. This checklist will help you and our Service Managers identify issues that need to be considered before installing solar panels.
Use this checklist to develop your proposal. Often community grants are available for the installation of solar panels on community buildings. Grant applications usually require a letter of support or approval from Council. This checklist is designed to assist you ‘tick all the boxes’ for that letter of support.
Council Renewable Energy Projects
We have been investing in behind-the-meter solar on Council-owned and operated buildings for some time, to reduce the cost of purchased electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our activities.
Building on fantastic work previously undertaken, in early 2018 we completed energy audits for the five highest energy consuming sites managed by Council, these identified energy efficiency measures, such as reconfiguration of cooling and heating systems and replacement of low efficiency lighting. As a result of the audit, three rooftop solar programs were identified, including the largest solar project at Wonthaggi Civic Centre with 100kW solar power system installed and operational in May 2019.
The 2019-20 Solar Program will see an additional two rooftop solar systems at the Wonthaggi depot (28kW) and additional solar panels to the Inverloch Hub (22kW), under the Sustainability Victoria Local Government Energy Saver program.
In addition to the above projects, we recently finished a Major Renewables Project at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre, with a 39kW solar power system installed on the Centre's roof.
Electrification of Transport
The uptake of electric vehicles (EV) is expected to follow an exponential trajectory as the market drivers strengthen. The availability of affordable models that suit different personal requirements will give drivers ever-increasing choice. Range anxiety will be quelled by ever-expanding networks of public charging stations. Community understanding and acceptance of EVs is growing.
Established auto manufacturers around the world are committing to electrification of their new models and in many overseas markets there has been exponential growth in electrification of vehicles. It is predicted that by 2025, EV’s may reach 20% of new car sales, so 5% of the cars on the road will be electric.
Council is supporting the transition to electric vehicles with charging stations a feature of the new Cowes Transit Hub and investigation ongoing on how private, commercial and local governments can assist the smooth transition. As well as removing any barriers to visitor’s access to Bass Coast and the wider Gippsland Region as an ecotourism destination.