Climate change is already affecting the way we live, and impacting the natural environment, human health, and the liveability of our city.
The impacts of climate change are becoming more frequent and intense. It is important that we work together to address climate change where we can. This includes reducing emissions and adapting to possible changes changes in our climate when they can't be avoided.
Climate changes have occurred naturally over time, but there is evidence that this process is being accelerated by human activities. Our fast-changing environment and modified landscapes are making it harder for organisms to naturally adapt to climate change.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), "climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C".
Council declared a Climate Emergency in August 2019. In December 2019, we also adopted the following science-based emissions reduction targets:
- Net zero emissions by 2050 for our community
- Net zero emissions by 2030 for Council operations.
You can read our Climate Emergency Update PDF, 562.93 KB for details about our actions and plans for climate change, and how you can help.
We are already seeing a number of climate change-related impacts in our region, and there are others that we expect to see in future, such as:
- More extreme weather such as bush fires, floods, storms, drought and heatwaves
- Sea level rise
- Human health
- Increased average temperatures
- Changes in rainfall patterns
- Coastal erosion
- Loss of biodiversity
- Risk to infrastructure and assets.
Council plays a significant leadership role in encouraging our community to be environmentally responsible.
We're working on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and the impact our actions have on the environment. We are also planning for the inevitable effects of climate change – otherwise known as climate change adaptation.
Council is a member of several climate action programs that will support our work towards becoming a low carbon city. We became a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) in 2017. Under GCoM, there are a number of requirements we have to meet. So far, we have:
- Completed an emissions inventory for the Wollongong Local Government Area
- Adopted science-derived emissions reduction targets (December 2019)
- Started preparing a Climate Change Mitigation (emissions reduction) Action Plan
- Begun planning for a Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan.
We became a member of the Cities Power Partnership program in 2020. We have recently selected our pledges under this program which fall under the themes of energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport, and working together and influencing. Our pledges are to:
- Install renewable energy (solar PV) on Council buildings
- Implement landfill gas methane or capture for electricity generation
- Encourage sustainable transport use such as public transport, walking and cycling through Council transport planning and design
- Set city-level renewable energy or emissions reduction targets
- Adopt best practice energy efficiency measures across Council buildings, and support community facilities to adopt these measures.
Council also has a number of plans that support Wollongong becoming a low carbon city. These include:
There are many ways you can reduce your contribution to climate change and your impact on the environment, and live more sustainably. Often these are small changes that are easy to make, in areas like energy, transport, food and consumption. Visit our Sustainable Living pages to find out more.
You can also sign up to our Sustainable Wollongong e-newsletter for regular updates on sustainable events, news and activities, or see our archive of recent e-news.
For more information about how to make your home more environmentally sustainable, check out the Australian Government’s Your Home tool.
- Global Covenant of Mayors
- Cities Power Partnership Program
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- IPCC Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C – Summary for Policymakers
- NSW Government Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
- Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
- Understanding and adapting to climate change in NSW
- Local Government NSW
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- Coast and Waterways
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- Climate Change
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- Fairy and Cabbage Tree Creeks Catchment
- Hewitts Creek Catchment
- Kully Bay Catchment
- Lake Illawarra Catchment
- Minnegang Creek Catchment
- Mullet Creek Catchment
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- Towradgi Creek Catchment
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