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Net zero by 2040: Ambitious new emissions target set

We’ve brought forward our own deadline by a decade.

We’re committed to beating our own carbon emissions target, setting a new benchmark to produce net zero emissions by 2040.

This new target is a decade earlier than the existing 2050 deadline.

Watch the video for a quick overview on the climate action we’re taking and what you can do too. For further information, keep reading.

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The accelerated action on climate change will form part of our new long-term strategic plan, Sustainable Sydney 2050, currently being developed after 1 year of community and expert consultation.

Environmental action has been a priority for our communities for more than a decade and much has been achieved.

Sydneysiders of all ages want more action on climate change

We became Australia’s first carbon neutral council in 2011. By 2017 we reduced emissions from our own operations by 25% and worked with others to reduce emissions city-wide by 21%.

We recognise we need to act and further reduce our impact on the environment.

We need to build resilience in our city, its infrastructure, systems and our communities to counter the impacts of a changing climate.

That’s why we joined a growing number of jurisdictions and declared a climate emergency in June 2019.

Our declaration acknowledges that climate change poses a serious risk to Sydney and should be treated as a national emergency.

A climate emergency response update (PDF 1.2 MB) was endorsed at our February 2020 Council meeting, outlining the actions we’re already committed to and identified future opportunities. Read it for more detailed information about our plans.

How we’ll work harder

We’re committed to building climate resilience.

From July this year, all the electricity we purchase will come from renewable energy sources. The 100% renewable electricity commitment is projected to save up to half a million dollars per year over the next 10 years.

When Green Square’s water recycling scheme is developed to its full potential, up to 320 million litres of stormwater will be collected from these pipes and treated each year.

To complement our existing commitments, we set 4 goals and related actions in the climate emergency response:

  • Lead by example - Address climate emergency priorities in our major strategies, projects and services.
  • Deliver on climate emergency priorities through planning - Require climate emergency ready buildings and places.
  • Work with and prepare our communities - Foster safety, health and resilience.
  • Build momentum and advocate - Reach out to, share with and influence others

The climate emergency is the biggest challenge cities face. Global heating has already caused average global temperatures to rise 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, which is having a significant impact on the climate.

Whether you’re a resident or a business, you can play a part in helping to reduce emissions and future proof our city.