Climate change

Climate change
Mayor Khal Asfour in front of Solar Panels
Climate Change affects us all, particularly the changes associated with increases in the frequency or intensity of heat events, fire weather and drought. We will all need to plan for and adapt to some level of climate change. Climate change Climate Change affects us all, particularly the changes associated with increases in the frequency or intensity of heat events, fire weather and drought. We will all need to plan for and adapt to some level of climate change. Environmental Programs
Mayor Khal Asfour in front of Solar Panels

 

Climate Change affects us all, particularly the changes associated with increases in the frequency or intensity of heat events, fire weather and drought. We will all need to plan for and adapt to some level of climate change.

Observations and climate modelling by CSIRO paint a consistent picture of ongoing, long-term climate change interacting with underlying natural variability. Local information about climate change in NSW is available at Adapt NSW.

Council recognises the need to take urgent action to reduce emissions as a priority, and also to adapt our actions and operations to reduce the impact on our environment and build the resilience of staff and the community now and into the future.

We have endorsed the Canterbury-Bankstown Connective City 2036 which sets a target of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have also endorsed the Resilient Sydney Strategy and are working with Councils across Sydney to encourage our communities to adapt and thrive in a changing climate. 

Delivering services and support for our community requires a large amount of energy. Everything from garbage collection to keeping swimming pools operating, from air conditioned community facilities and libraries to keeping the streets lit at night, uses fossil fuels which generate emissions. Here are some of the actions we are undertaking NOW:

Council is reducing emissions

Solar Energy
Currently 20% of electricity comes from the NSW Moree Solar Farm.

We have also installed over 450 kW of solar on 20 Council and community facilities - enough to power 122 Bankstown homes or provide 3.6% of Councils total electricity use including Street Lights.

Electric Vehicles
In 2019 Council started introducing Electric Vehicles (EVs) into the operational fleet replacing petrol vehicles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving money on fuel and maintenance.

All electricity used to charge the EV's will be renewable or offset so the cars will be effectively carbon neutral. As of January 2020 we have 13 Electric Vehicles and we are planning to double this number in the next 12 months as vehicles are due for replacement. We have also placed our first Community EV Chargers at Campsie.

LED Street Lighting
Council is working with Ausgrid to replace close to 5,000 energy intensive street lights over the next 2 years with new LED lights. This represents a significant investment for Council, however the dual benefits of substantially reduced greenhouse emissions and cost savings on electricity over the lifetime of the lights, is a win-win for council and the community.

Council is adapting

Increasing Urban Tree Canopy
The effect of increasing urbanisation and global climate change are closely linked with the urban heat island effect. When compared to unvegetated public areas, a well-managed, lush tree canopy can reduce land surface temperatures by up to 15 degrees on a 35-degree day.

We actively encourage the community to green their properties by planting trees and shrubs. Each year council provides over 10,000 native plants free to schools and community members. We also support National tree day in June each year, coordinating community planting of over 1,000 native plants in local bushland and parks.

With an average tree cover of only about 15% we know there is a lot of room for more trees. In 2020 we will commence development and delivery of an Urban Tree Strategy to ensure more trees growing across the city, making it a cooler place for everyone.

Dealing with Poor Air Quality / Smoke from bushfires
Council has recently prepared an "Adverse Weather Management" direction to guide how we will operate and maintain services during periods of adverse weather. This can include times of extreme air quality, heat, smoke, flood, and electrical storm conditions.

To date excessive smoke from the bushfires has triggered the closure of all Aquatic and Leisure Centres and Sefton Golf Course on just a few days when staff considered it unsafe to continue outdoor activities for themselves, as well as, community members.

Additionally we have included air quality as an identified potential risk for all of our outdoor events. Our Event Team stay informed and updated on current and forecast air quality warnings, to ensure we can make appropriate and timely decisions to cancel or postpone events when needed.

Social Media
Council regularly uses Social Media Posts to Facebook to advise community of many issues related to extreme weather events. You can friend Council on www.facebook.com/ourcbcity

Some examples are:

  • When facilities such as pools and golf courses are closed because of poor air quality from smoke.
  • Advice when smoke and bushfire haze has reduced air quality – avoid outdoor activity, follow disease management plan.
  • Advice on high temperature days – Stay hydrated, be sun smart, look after each other and take care of pets with shade and fresh water.
  • Advice of cancellation or postponement of Council events such as outdoor films.
  • Extreme weather events and heat stress on native animals such as flying foxes – what you can do (e.g. leave out fresh clean water and contact WIRES).
  • Extreme weather – keeping your pets safe during thunderstorms
  • Cancelling the Australia Day Fireworks and redirecting funds to the Australian Red Cross

What can you do?

Look after yourself during hot weather and heatwaves
Heatwaves and hot weather have killed more people in Australia than any other natural disaster. Here's how you can beat the heat and keep cool this summer:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stay cool
  • Get connected
  • Get organised
  • Get help if you need it.

More detailed information is available from the Australian Red Cross.

Look after your pets in a heat wave

  • Ensure your pets have plenty of water and shade for the day
  • If dogs or cats appear heat stressed, panting or restless, bath in cool water
  • Call your vet if you are concerned about a pet

Get prepared for emergencies
We are encouraging our residents to download the Red Cross Get Prepared App and prepare an emergency plan. This will help build the capacity of our community to understand and manage risks associated with climate related emergencies such as storms and heatwaves while also developing strong, cohesive neighbourhoods and districts.

Get Prepared helps you connect with your key support people, accomplish simple tasks to make you and your loved ones safer, and protect the things that matter most to you.

Get Smart about your energy use
Canterbury-Bankstown is part of the Our Energy Future program which helps residents reduce their energy bills, improve comfort levels and reduce their environmental footprint.

Our Energy Future is delivered by the Australian Energy Foundation and can provide up-to-date and impartial energy efficiency and renewable energy advice. Click here to receive a more information or free quotation for your home: https://aef.com.au 

Plant trees
Trees are the most effective way to reduce the effects of heat at ground level. Council supports our residents to get involved in planting trees through native plants giveaways and the opportunity to participate in national tree day.

Solar My School
'Solar my School' is a Council-run initiative helping schools reduce energy bills, educate students and shrink their carbon footprint with solar power.

We provide free independent support and guidance to primary and secondary schools looking to power their buildings with cheap green energy. Help is provided every step of the way from start to finish, to make installing solar in your school as simple as possible.

Visit the Solar My School website for more information and to register your school as a participant in this exciting initiative.

Join a local community environment group
Canterbury-Bankstown's natural environment is rich, diverse and unique, providing a valuable resource for local residents and visitors alike. Our natural environment is important for stabilising soil, improving water quality and providing valuable habitats for our native wildlife. In addition, natural areas are also important for their beauty, and the educational and recreational opportunities they provide.

Bushcare is a local volunteer program that encourages residents to get involved and get connected. It's a great way to meet other residents while doing something worthwhile for the environment.

More information is available on our Bushcare program page.

The Mudcrabs are a local community group which cares for the Cooks River and its foreshore environment by regularly collecting rubbish and restoring the bush along the Cooks River. 

More information here: http://www.crva.org.au/?page_id=7

Offset your household emissions
While it is not always possible to completely remove your emissions, purchasing offsets is one way to balance out the effect you have on the environment. Offsets calculate the reduction in greenhouse gases that would be achieved by planting a certain amount of trees and balances that against your emissions profile. A single person can offset their annual emissions for as little as $117!

Fly less and use public transport more
For most of us the activity which contributes the most carbon emissions is flying. If you can reduce the amount of times you fly in one year your total emissions would drop considerably!

One overseas long-haul trip can more than double your total annual emissions. When you have to fly, don't forget to select to offset your emissions, you'll be surprised how little it adds to your ticket price. 

Choosing public transport, walking, cycling or carpooling is also a powerful way to reduce the emissions associated with driving.

Buy local, low carbon products with recyclable packaging
When you buy an item that has travelled across the world, there are a lot of transport emissions which are emitted to get that product to you. By choosing an equivalent local product you significantly reduce transport emissions and support local businesses!

Eat Less Meat
The agriculture industry accounts for 15% of Australia's total emissions and the large majority of this is methane released by cows and sheep. By reducing the amount of meat you consume the numbers of livestock that are in Australia releasing emissions will reduce.