Category Archives: Carbon

What is the meaning of carbon-neutral, net-zero and climate-neutral?

There are several terms that describe ambitious climate action targets such as ‘carbon-neutral’, ‘net-zero’ and ‘climate-neutral’, and we are sometimes asked whether these terms can be used interchangeably.

Are the terms ‘carbon-neutral’, ‘net-zero’ and ‘climate-neutral’ the same or are they different?

Whether you are using ‘carbon-neutral’, ‘net-zero’, or ‘climate neutral’ in your goal, they all reflect the same intent to reduce or eliminate your organisation’s impact on the climate system.

In most cases, these terms are and can be used interchangeably, but there are differences in how they are defined and what they are taken to mean in terms of how goals are to be achieved. Let’s have a look at the definitions of the terms first.

How do you define carbon-neutral, net-zero emissions and climate-neutral?

According to the IPCC Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C, the definitions are as follows:

Definition of carbon neutrality

Carbon neutrality, or net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, is achieved when your organisation’s CO2 emissions are balanced globally by CO2 removal, typically over one year.

Definition of net-zero emissions

Net-zero emissions are achieved when your organisation’s emissions of all greenhouse gases (CO2-e) are balanced by greenhouse gas removals, typically over one year.

Definition of climate neutrality

Climate neutrality is achieved when organisational activities result in no net effect on the climate system. In climate-neutral claims, regional or local bio-geophysical effects have to be accounted for as well, such as radiative forcing (e.g. from aircraft condensation trails).

In summary, a carbon-neutral target relates to carbon dioxide only, whereas a ‘net-zero’ goal includes all greenhouse gases, and a ‘climate-neutral’ goals extends to other effects such as radiative forcing as well. For an explanation of the different greenhouse gases and radiative forcing, please read the appendix.

For most companies, carbon-neutral, net-zero and climate-neutral mean the same.

If an organisation releases mainly carbon dioxide, there is not much difference between using the term carbon-neutral, net-zero or climate-neutral.

Also, for most sectors, net-zero emissions and climate neutrality are the same due to the most important climate impact being the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, some sectors, such as aviation, should consider other climate impacts from non-CO2 radiative forcing as well.

Examples of carbon-neutral, net-zero and climate-neutral claims

You can see examples of how these targets can be turned into claims in the graphic below. The horizontal axis shows the potential scope of an organisation’s emissions, from CO2-only to climate neutral. The vertical axis shows the scope of activities that are covered, from site level through to the full value chain of an organisation.

WRI definitions net zero carbon neutral climate neutral

Figure 1: Scopes of carbon neutrality, net-zero and climate neutrality. Source: CDP and SBTi.

For examples of how organisations are phrasing their commitments, have a look at the following:

Apple, which is already carbon neutral for corporate emissions worldwide, committed to be 100% carbon neutral for its supply chain and products by 2030. They plan on ‘bringing their entire footprint to net zero 20 years sooner than IPCC targets’.

H&M, have committed to the following:

  • Climate positive by 2040 throughout H&M Group’s entire value chain.
  • Climate-neutral supply chain for our manufacturing and processing factories owned or subcontracted by our suppliers as well as our suppliers’ own suppliers (i.e. fabric mills, fibre processors, spinners or tanneries) by 2030.
  • Reduce scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 40% before 2030 (baseline 2017).
  • Reduce scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased raw materials, fabric production and garments by 59% per product before 2030 (baseline 2017).
  • Increase annual sourcing of renewable electricity from 95% in 2017 to 100% by 2030.

In Australia, Atlassian committed to:

  • running their operations on 100% renewable energy by 2025
  • setting science-based targets to limit warming to 1.5°C
  • achieve net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Reaching carbon neutrality/net-zero emissions/climate neutrality

In addition to what climate forces are included in targets, there are also different interpretations of how a particular target will be reached.

For example, most people understand a net-zero or a climate-neutral target to mean that a business puts significant emphasis on reducing or mitigating emissions in their own organisation, and will buy offsets to address residual emissions. For many, a carbon-neutral goal is seen as a strategy that mainly relies on the purchase of carbon offsets. In that sense, a carbon-neutral goal can be seen as an interim goal on the journey to net-zero emissions.

Please read the appendix for further information on offsets.

Carbon neutral under Climate Active

Climate Active is a Commonwealth Government program that allows Australian organisations to achieve certified carbon neutral status for their whole organisation, products/services, events and buildings/precincts. Climate Active is a rigorous program which ensures that your climate claim is credible. For more information on this program, please read our three-part blog series- Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

When going carbon neutral under Climate Active, all greenhouse gas emissions must be considered, including your organisation’s emissions, emissions in your value chain, and radiative forcing for flights. In addition, you need to develop a strategy on how to reduce emissions in your organisation, not just offset them.

When committing to be carbon neutral under Climate Active, you can safely assume that your carbon-neutral goal is synonymous with a climate-neutral or net-zero goal in terms of emissions coverage, as shown in the following graphic:

Climate Active definition of carbon neutrality

Figure 2: Climate Active carbon-neutral can be interpreted to be the same as net-zero and climate-neutral

Five factors you should consider when setting your climate target

To ensure that you are setting a credible target and to avoid reputational damage, you should be mindful of the following considerations when defining your carbon-neutral/net-zero/climate-neutral target:

  1. Define what greenhouse gases you include in your claim. Only CO2, or all relevant greenhouse gases?
  2. Define what entity is addressed in your claim. Only operational emissions, or also your supply chain? Will you make an event carbon neutral or one of your buildings or products/services?
  3. Define what emission sources form part of your claim. Will you include all carbon scopes or just a select few? Will you perform a materiality assessment across your emission sources to find out which you should include?’
  4. Define the strategy on how you intend to reach your target. Will you use carbon offsets? How much focus will you place on reducing emissions that fall under your operational control? How much focus will you put on reducing emissions in your value chain?
  5. Define the timeframe. Be mindful of setting the year you want to reach your goal at least in line with science. Consider setting yourself an interim carbon reduction target in line with science.

What comes after net-zero?

Reaching net-zero is an important achievement for any organisation, but it is only one step towards stabilising our climate. Beyond net-zero, we need to remove more greenhouse gases than we are adding to the atmosphere.

Ambitious climate change leaders are starting to turn their attention to balancing out their historical emissions, as well as their current and future emissions. They are also beginning to think about becoming ‘carbon-negative’ or ‘climate-positive’, which means that you are removing more GHG from the atmosphere than you are adding to it.

Appendix

What greenhouse gases are there?

When thinking of greenhouse gases, most people would list carbon dioxide as the main culprit. CO2 is indeed the most prevalent greenhouse gas, but according to the GHG Protocol, there are seven greenhouse gases (GHG) that organisations should report on:

  1. Carbon dioxide (CO2), which is mostly emitted by burning fossil fuels
  2. Methane (CH4), which is mostly emitted by growing ruminant animals such as sheep and cows, and from landfills
  3. Nitrous oxide (N2O), which is mostly emitted by growing crops and decomposing waste
  4. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which is mostly emitted by refrigeration equipment
  5. Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), which are mostly emitted by the aluminium industry
  6. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), mostly emitted by switchgear
  7. Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), mostly emitted in computer manufacturing

Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas due to the vast quantities that are being emitted and due to its long life – hundreds of years – in the atmosphere. Another such ‘long-lived’ GHG is nitrous oxide, at more than 100 years.

Methane, for instance, exists in the atmosphere for a much shorter period, but has a much higher global warming potential than CO2, meaning that this gas causes more global warming per tonne than CO2.

Most fluorinated gases (PFCs, SF6, HFCs) have very high global warming potentials, so small atmospheric concentrations can have disproportionately large effects on global temperatures. They can also last in the atmosphere for thousands of years. And whereas carbon dioxide can be absorbed by growing plants, no living organism needs HFCs in any of their processes.

Most organisations are emitting carbon dioxide as their most significant greenhouse gas.

What is non-CO2 radiative forcing?

A recent study called ‘The contribution of global aviation to anthropogenic climate forcing for 2000 to 2018’ shows that global aviation warms Earth’s surface through both CO2 and net non-CO2 contributions.

Aviation contributions involve a range of atmospheric physical processes, including plume dynamics, chemical transformations, microphysics, radiation, and transport, which you can see in the image below. Interestingly, the study reveals that two-thirds of the climate impact from aviation is caused by emissions other than CO2.

Climate forcings from global aviation

Figure 3: How aviation affects the climate system

How can you reach carbon neutrality/net-zero/climate neutrality?

To reach the goal of the Paris Agreement, emissions must be reduced as close to zero as possible, as quickly as possible. By 2030, we need to have halved emissions.

Both CO2 and non-CO2 emissions can be reduced by decarbonising grid energy, building more sustainably, producing our goods and services more sustainably and transporting our goods more sustainably.

In addition, targeted non-CO2 mitigation measures can reduce nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agriculture, as well as methane emissions from the waste sector. HFCs in refrigeration equipment can also be replaced with less harmful substances.

Offsetting

Offsets are a useful way to reach a carbon-neutral target right away. One offset equals one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions that is avoided or reduced elsewhere. However, you need to make sure that you purchase highly credible carbon offsets that meet rigorous selection criteria.

Carbon offsets can be generated from projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere, such as planting trees, which need CO2 to grow.

Offsets can also be generated from activities that avoid emissions (compared to a hypothetical business-as-usual scenario), such as wind farm projects, or energy efficiency projects.

Which is more popular? Carbon neutral, net-zero or climate-neutral?

Analysing past submissions to CDP shows that most companies use the term ‘carbon-neutral’ over terms such as ‘climate-neutral’ or ‘net-zero’. However, the term ‘net-zero’ is becoming increasingly popular.

A search on Google trends over the past three years reveals that in Australia, the term ‘carbon-neutral’ is a more popular search term compared to ‘net-zero’, which in turn is more popular than the term ‘climate-neutral’.

Popularity of search terms on Google

Figure 4: Google search trends for ‘carbon-neutral’, ‘net-zero’ and ‘climate-neutral’[1]

[1] Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate action strategies and plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Action Strategy, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

FAQs for becoming certified under Climate Active – Part 3

This article follows on from part 1 and part 2 of this series, in which we discussed general questions about carbon neutrality, scopes, the Climate Active Program and typical emissions sources in a Climate Active carbon footprint. In this blog post, we’ll address how to get certified carbon neutral under Climate Active and how much it costs to get certified under the Climate Active program.

How do I become certified under Climate Active?

To become certified carbon neutral under Climate Active, there are four basic steps.

  1. Determine your carbon footprint boundary
  2. Calculate your carbon footprint
  3. Get your carbon footprint verified
  4. Purchase carbon offsets and submit all documentation to the Commonwealth Government

What responsibilities do you have under Climate Active?

The following list shows your responsibilities under the Climate Active program. Please note that a registered consultant can help you with engaging a verifier, collecting all necessary data, completing your report and guiding you through the offset purchase process.

  • Sign Licence Agreement
  • Pay annual fee
  • Engage auditor/verifier
  • Complete report or provide all data to a Registered Consultant (please note that 100% Renewables is a Registered Consultant)
  • Purchase offsets
  • Sign the Public Disclosure Statement and submit the report
  • Submit web profile
  • Use the Climate Active trademark correctly

How much does it cost to become certified under Climate Active?

There are four fee components for getting certified under Climate Active

  • Engage a registered consultant to help you with the carbon inventory boundary and carbon footprint calculation
  • Engage a third-party validation provider to verify the work done by the registered consultant
  • Buy carbon offsets to achieve carbon neutrality
  • Pay Climate Active membership fees

NOTE:
Please contact us for an estimate of how much you will likely need to pay for these four fee components. We can provide you with a 1-page report.

Let’s have a look at these fees in detail.

How much do I have to pay a registered consultant?

We are a registered consultant under the Climate Active program. Our fees depend on the size and complexity of your organisation, on how much of the work you would like to do yourself, as well as on the emission sources that are included. It’s best to contact us for a quote. We will give you a fixed fee quote once we understand your circumstances a bit better.

How much do I have to pay a verifier?

Just like with registered consultant fees, verification costs also increase with the complexity and size of your organisation. It is likely that verification providers will charge a higher fee if you choose not to engage a registered consultant.

What is the difference between a registered consultant and a verifier?

A ‘registered consultant’ can be engaged to develop your carbon inventory boundary, carbon footprint and emission reduction strategy. They would liaise with you, your verifier and the Commonwealth. It is not mandatory, and you could do this step yourself, but it is highly recommended that you do engage a registered consultant as they have the skilled resources who have done the training and are experienced in this work.

A verifier is an independent third party who must be engaged to validate the carbon boundary and footprint. Your registered consultant cannot be the same person or business as the verifier so that there is no conflict of interest.

Could we do any of this work ourselves?

You can develop your own carbon footprint in accordance with the Climate Active rules if you have the in-house resources. In any case, you will need to engage a verifier. You might find that a verifier’s fees are then a little higher, as they may have to do more detailed checking than they would otherwise have to do.

How much do I have to pay for carbon offsets?

There is a wide range of costs, depending on the actual offset project, its location, accreditation standard and co-benefits, as well as the volume you are purchasing. The range can be from $1.50 to $28 per carbon offset.

It is usually helpful to run a workshop with your key stakeholders to work out your preferences and what is feasible given your emissions and budget.

How much are Climate Active membership fees?

Climate Active licence fees depend entirely on the size of your current footprint. There are four brackets which range from under 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions to over 80,000 tonnes. You will pay between $820 to $2,627 inc GST for the lowest bracket, a fee which will be charged annually. If your footprint is greater than 80,000 tonnes, you will need to pay $18,911 inc GST annually. These fees increase by 2.5% every year.

Do I have to pay all these fees every year?

No. You will have to pay yearly Climate Active membership and carbon offset fees to continue to be a carbon-neutral company. And you do need to calculate your carbon footprint annually as well, but this would be much less than the first time, and you should make sure that all the data collection and calculation processes are documented so that you can do the work in-house, or mainly in-house.

You will only need to pay the validation provider once every three years.

Does the size of my company matter?

Yes, absolutely. Because of the rigour and multi-step process that is involved with getting certified under Climate Active, there is a certain amount of cost involved with becoming carbon neutral under Climate Active.

To give you an example, the smallest bracket under Climate Active is between 0 and 2,000 tonnes of yearly emissions for organisations. 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions roughly equal the electricity consumption of 300 homes or the fuel consumption of 600 cars.

Say your organisation emitted 100 tonnes of carbon emissions yearly. Climate Active fees would be $820 inc GST, while registered consultant and verification costs can vary between $500 and $10,000 each, depending on who you engage. Carbon offset costs will range from $1,200 to $2,800, depending on the exact carbon credits you would like to purchase.

Do I have to calculate my carbon footprint every year?

Yes, you will have to calculate your carbon footprint every year. Your organisation might have changed, or your carbon footprint boundary, or the way you collect your data. Your business activity may also have changed, resulting in a higher or lower carbon footprint. You may have outsourced activities that were previously insourced. The carbon intensity of the grid may also have changed, resulting in potentially lower emissions.

It is essential to calculate your carbon footprint every year so you can see the effect of those changes. It will allow you to celebrate any success you’ve had with emissions reductions or getting closer to your goal. Alternatively, it will be a good opportunity to put a particular focus on emissions that might have increased over time or that you want to target with your next emission reductions projects.

We recommend using a consultant such as 100% Renewables to help with the yearly calculation, but if you have the skills set and availability inhouse, you can undertake this activity yourself.

If you are going through Climate Active certification for the first time, the whole process can seem a bit confusing. Engaging a registered consultant such as 100% Renewables will ensure a smooth and easy process. Please download our Climate Active brochure to find out more about how we can help you with your Climate Active certification.

100% Renewables’ staff are registered consultants with Climate Active. If you would like to achieve certification, or prepare for certification, please contact Barbara.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

 

FAQs for becoming certified under Climate Active – Part 2

One of our service offers is helping our clients determine their Climate Active carbon footprint and obtain Climate Active certification from the Commonwealth Government. Over the last few months, we’ve received many calls of organisations wanting to find out more about Climate Active accreditation, which resulted in the publication of  Part 1 of this series.

In Part 2 of this series, we will discuss more details about scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and what emission sources typically form part of a Climate Active carbon footprint. In the final blog post of this series, we will go into more details about how to get certified under Climate Active.

What are scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 emissions?

Scope 1 emissions are emissions directly generated at your operations, such as burning natural gas or driving company cars, or refrigerant gases in your air conditioning equipment.

Scope 2 emissions are caused indirectly by consuming electricity. These emissions are generated outside your organisation (think coal-fired power station), but you are indirectly responsible for them.

Scope 3 emissions are also indirect emissions and happen upstream and downstream of your business. Examples are waste, air travel, the consumption of goods and services, contractor emissions, or leased assets.

Overview of GHG Protocol scopes and emissions across the value chain

Figure 1: Emission sources and scopes – graphic adjusted from the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard

Supply chain emissions/Scope 3 categories

According to the GHG Protocol, specifically the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard, there are 15 categories of supply chain/scope 3 emissions

Upstream supply chain emissions

  1. Purchased goods and services
  2. Capital goods
  3. Fuel- and energy-related activities (not included in scope 1 or scope 2)
  4. Upstream transportation and distribution
  5. Waste generated in your operations
  6. Business travel
  7. Employee commuting
  8. Upstream leased assets

Downstream supply chain emissions

  1. Downstream transportation and distribution
  2. Processing of sold products
  3. Use of sold products
  4. End-of-life treatment of sold products
  5. Downstream leased assets
  6. Franchises
  7. Investments

While this list looks a bit overwhelming, not all emission sources will be relevant. It’s important to prioritise your data collection efforts and focus on your most significant and relevant emission sources. You can ask questions such as whether you expect the emission source to be large relative to your scope 1 and scope 2 sources, or whether you have influence over the activity, or whether your stakeholders deem the emission source relevant.

The graphic below shows a graphical representation of a typical Climate Active boundary for emission sources.

Typical Climate Active boundary for emission sources

Figure 2: Typical Climate Active boundary for emission sources

What are the benefits of calculating supply chain/scope 3 emissions?

Just looking at your scope 1 and scope 2 emissions can give you a distorted picture of your environmental impact. Going through the list of upstream and downstream scope 3 emission sources is a great exercise to identify the carbon intensity of your value and supply chain. It encourages the quantification and reporting of emissions from various suppliers, which can help you drive greater emission reductions. It will also have a snowball effect by not only you focusing on reducing your direct emission sources, but also encouraging your suppliers to reduce theirs.

For many organisations scope 3 emissions can represent a much larger emission source than scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, and it is often eye-opening to calculate your carbon footprint across all three scopes. Also, the more scope 3 emission sources you include in your carbon inventory, the more credibility your statement of carbon neutrality will have.

Understanding scope 3 emissions will help you plan for potential future carbon regulations and can guide corporate procurement decisions and product design.

What emission sources are in a typical Climate Active footprint?

A Climate Active carbon footprint encompasses many emission sources across the three carbon accounting scopes. One of the first steps in getting certified under the Climate Active program is to determine your carbon footprint boundary.

You need to include all emissions that you have direct control or ownership of, such as natural gas, transport fuel usage by your vehicles, and electricity consumption in your operations. You also need to identify all emissions that are a consequence of your activities but are outside of your direct ownership or control, such as waste and contractors’ transport.

You must also include emissions from third party electricity use under your organisation’s control even if they are offsite, such as outsourced data centres, if these emissions are large relative to other emission sources.

You don’t need to include every single emission source, but you must assess all other direct and indirect emissions to determine whether they are ‘relevant’.

The relevancy test

Under Climate Active, particular emissions sources are relevant when any two of the following conditions are met:

  • The emissions are likely to be large relative to your electricity, stationary energy and fuel emissions
  • The emissions contribute to your GHG risk exposure, and including and addressing them will help you to avoid future costs related to energy and emissions
  • The emissions are deemed relevant by your key stakeholders (such as major customers, suppliers, investors or the wider community)
  • You have the potential to influence an emissions reduction
  • The emissions are from outsourced activities that were previously undertaken in-house, or from outsourced activities that are typically undertaken within the boundary for comparable organisations. Data centres and transport are typical examples of this.

If an emission source is relevant, you must include it in your carbon footprint boundary. You can exclude emissions that are not relevant, but you should disclose these in your public reporting documents.

You may find that many emission sources will be relevant, but you don’t have to collect data for all of them. For instance, if the associated emissions constitute less than 1% of the total carbon footprint, you can include the source in your boundary, but you don’t have to calculate its associated emissions.

There are many more questions to be answered, so stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog post series. If you are going through Climate Active certification for the first time, the whole process can seem a bit confusing. Engaging a registered consultant such as 100% Renewables will ensure a smooth and easy process. Please download our Climate Active brochure to find out more about how we can help you with your Climate Active certification.

100% Renewables’ staff are registered consultants with Climate Active. If you would like to achieve certification, or prepare for certification, please contact Barbara.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

 

FAQs for becoming certified under Climate Active – Part 1

One of our service offers is helping our clients determine their Climate Active carbon footprint and obtain Climate Active certification from the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Over the last few months, we’ve received many calls of organisations wanting to find out more about Climate Active accreditation, so we thought it would be a good idea to publish a Frequently Asked Questions about Climate Active. In this article, we will discuss questions about the program in general. In the next blog post, we will go into more details about how to get certified under Climate Active.

What is carbon neutrality?

Carbon neutrality (or zero net emissions) is reached when all emissions in your defined carbon footprint boundary are zero. Ideally, your carbon inventory boundary will encompass as many emission sources as possible so that your claim for carbon neutrality is credible.

You can reach carbon neutrality by:

  • Reducing your emissions onsite through energy efficiency or by installing solar PV
  • Buying renewable energy
  • Buying carbon neutral products and services
  • Netting off the rest of your emissions through the purchase of carbon offsets

What is Climate Active?

Carbon neutrality can be self-declared, by calculating your carbon footprint, and offsetting it. However, it does not come with the same credibility as getting certified under a Government-backed program. This is where Climate Active comes in.

Climate Active is a highly trusted certification program, which is administered by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. It was first launched in 2010 and was originally known as the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS).

Initially, it was only possible to achieve carbon-neutral certification for organisations, products and services, but in 2017 the certification options were expanded to events, buildings and precincts.

Organisations that achieve certification under this program are allowed to display the Climate Active trademark and logo, which showcases this achievement.

What are the benefits of going carbon neutral under Climate Active?

Becoming certified under Climate Active shows that you are taking a stand in terms of climate change and that you want to be a leadership organisation. It signals to your staff, suppliers, and customers that you have a purpose beyond making money. Climate Active certification provides your business with the opportunity to:

  • Demonstrate that your organisation is a leader by taking a stand on climate action
  • Align with Sustainable Development Goals
  • Differentiate your brand and increase customer recognition
  • Meet growing stakeholder expectations and enhance reputation
  • Attract and retain talented employees and build internal capacity
  • Connect better with the community
  • Generate revenue, increase customer loyalty
  • Save energy and operating costs
  • Future-proof your organisation by managing carbon risk, including supply-chain risk

Can I go carbon neutral outside of Climate Active?

If you are looking to achieve carbon neutrality in Australia, the most credible way is to get certified under Climate Active. However, it is not mandatory to get certified under this Standard. You can use the Standard for guidance in calculating and offsetting your carbon footprint and self-declare carbon neutrality. Alternatively, you can use the Standard to understand what your Climate Active carbon footprint would look like, in preparation for future certification under the Standard.

Should we go carbon neutral under Climate Active now or wait till our net zero target date?

If you have a long-term goal to reach net zero emissions, you can fast track this achievement by going carbon neutral under Climate Active right away.

Then as you reduce your carbon emissions by installing solar, or by being more efficient with your energy use, you will be able to reduce your carbon offset purchases. Done this way, you have set yourself an internal carbon price (equal to the price of your carbon offsets), which you can use to get sustainability projects over the line more easily.

Going carbon neutral right away will also signal to the market that you are not working towards a goal that is far away, but that you are taking immediate steps to address climate change.

What is the difference between NGER and Climate Active?

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme, established by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (NGER Act), is a national framework for reporting your greenhouse gas emissions, energy production and consumption. Reporting under NGER is mandatory for large energy users and carbon emitters, and only applies to scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gases (see the graphic below).

Overview of GHG Protocol scopes and emissions across the value chain

Figure 1: Emission sources and scopes – graphic adjusted from the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard

On the other hand, Climate Active is a voluntary program, and it requires that you report your upstream and downstream scope 3 emissions, as well as scope 1 and scope 2.

There are many more questions to be answered, so stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post series which discusses more details about scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and what emission sources typically form part of a Climate Active carbon footprint.

If you are going through Climate Active certification for the first time, the whole process can seem a bit confusing. Engaging a registered consultant such as 100% Renewables will ensure a smooth and easy process. Please download our Climate Active brochure to find out more about how we can help you with your Climate Active certification.

100% Renewables’ staff are registered consultants with Climate Active. If you would like to achieve certification, or prepare for certification, please contact Barbara.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

 

How Randwick Council achieved >40% energy savings at Lionel Bowen Library

100% Renewables has helped many organisations to set ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction goals and developed the strategies and action plans that will help them get there. While this is one key metric for our business, a greater measure of success is when we see clients implement projects that will take them towards their targets. In this blog post, we showcase measures implemented by Randwick City Council to significantly reduce the energy demand and carbon footprint of the Lionel Bowen Library in Maroubra, Sydney.

Randwick City Council’s climate change targets and plan

Randwick City Council has set a number of ambitious environmental sustainability targets for its operations, including targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In March 2018, Council adopted the following targets:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from Council’s operations – net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, including but not limited to the following measures:
    • Council’s total energy consumption – 100% replacement by renewable sources (generated on site or off-site for Council’s purposes) by 2030.
    • Council’s vehicle fleet – net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Energy eficiency is a key strategy for achieving these goals, as set out in the 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap completed in early 2020.

Lionel Bowen Library energy use and solar

The Lionel Bowen Library is one of Council’s largest energy-using facilties, consuming 7.8% of Council’s total electricity demand in 2017/18. This was after the implementation of a 30 kW solar panel array on the roof of the library in 2013, as well as efficiency measures including VSD control of the cooling tower fan and voltage optimisation of the main incoming supply. The solar array generates 40,000 kWh of renewable energy each year, which is fully consumed within the library.

Lionel Bowen Library solar installation, Randwick City Council (photo by Patrick Denvir)
Lionel Bowen Library solar installation, Randwick City Council (photo by Patrick Denvir)

New energy efficiency projects at Lionel Bowen Library

Concurrent with the development of Council’s 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap, Randwick initiated a project to roll out LED lighting at selected sites, including the library. A multi-faceted process included the

  • development of the business case to secure internal support and approval,
  • selection of a preferred supplier,
  • implementation of a trial ‘LED space’ and measurement of light and energy savings as well as visitor perceptions of the upgraded space,
  • influencing key internal stakeholders to support the whole-facility rollout,
  • implementation including claiming the Energy Saving Certificates (ESCs) for the project, and
  • measurement of the energy savings.

During the development of the 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap it was observed that after-hours control of several of the library’s air conditioning systems was not working effectively. In addition, a storeroom fan system in the basement of the building was observed to be running continuously.

Consultation with facilities management staff indicated that faulty BMS controllers meant that time schedules as well as after-hours controls were not correct, and quotes would be sought for new timers to rectify this. Quotes for a new timer for the storeroom fan system were also sought.

In late 2019, the new time control measures were implemented, with significant immediate energy savings identified in load data for the library. The combined impact of the LED lighting and air conditioning system control changes has been to reduce the library’s electricity consumption by nearly 40% when comparing similar periods of 2017/18 with energy consumption in early 2020. This saving is illustrated below in two charts.

  • The first chart shows monthly electricity consumption from June 2018 through to February 2020, with the steep downward trend in monthly electricity use evident.
Monthly electricity consumption - June 2018 to February 2020, Bowen Library
Monthly electricity consumption – June 2018 to February 2020, Lionel Bowen Library
  • The second chart shows daily load profile data and clearly illustrates the impact of the air conditioning timer upgrade on night energy demand between November and December 2019.
Load profile - Nov vs Dec 2019, Bowen Library
Load profile – Nov vs Dec 2019, Lionel Bowen Library

Future savings initiatives at Lionel Bowen Library

There are plans to implement additional measures at the library that will see even more energy savings achieved and more renewable energy. These new measures are set out in Council’s 100% Renewable Energy roadmap and include:

  • Installation of a further 30-45 kW of solar PV on the roof of the library which will be absorbed on site.
  • Progressively upgrade the main and split air conditioning systems in the library (which have reached the end of their economic life) with energy efficient systems. This will have the added benefit of removing R22 refrigerant from the library and seeing a switch to a lower-GWP refrigerant. Opportunities to implement VSD control of fans and pumps, and to optimise supply to unused or infrequently used spaces will also be assessed.
  • Implement new BMS controls for new air conditioning plant as this is upgraded.

The combined impact of these changes over time could be a reduction in grid electricity supply to Lionel Bowen Library of 60% compared with 2017/18 electricity consumption.

Progressing towards its emissions reduction target

The energy saving measures implemented at Lionel Bowen Library are just a few among nearly a hundred actions that, when implemented over the next several years will see Randwick City Council realise its goal to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

pdf-iconCase study “How Randwick Council achieved >40% energy savings at Lionel Bowen Library”
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Randwick City Council is one among many leading councils showing that achieving ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction goals is both feasible and cost effective. 100% Renewables is proud to have played a role in helping this leader through the development of their 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap. We look forward to council’s continued success in reaching their renewable energy targets in coming years.

 

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate change strategies and action plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Change Strategy, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Part 4: University leadership – fossil fuel divestments

To recap, we have already published three blog posts of our University leadership series. Part 1 showed the ambitious renewable energy and carbon-neutral commitments of leading universities across Australia, Part 2 highlighted universities with Green Star certified buildings, and Part 3 detailed universities’ commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.

This is Part 4 of our tertiary education sector blog series where we look at the role of universities in fossil fuel divestments. We briefly discussed this previously in our blog post in 2017 which highlighted a number of universities who have committed to partially or fully divest from fossil fuels.

The movement to divest from the fossil fuel industry has grown rapidly in recent years and commitments have been made by many organisations, including local councils, charitable trusts, super funds and the ACT Government. Universities have been a central focus of the campaign with students urging their administrations to turn endowment investments in the fossil fuel industry into investments in clean energy and communities most impacted by climate change.

What is fossil fuel divestment?

According to Wikipedia, fossil fuel divestment is an attempt to reduce climate change by exerting social, political, and economic pressure for the institutional divestment of assets including stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments connected to companies involved in extracting fossil fuels.

Australian Ethical reports that, in 2019, the fossil fuel divestment movement is making it clear to companies who extract coal, oil or gas from the ground that they do so without a social licence. The release of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via the burning of these fossil fuels is threatening to destabilise life on this planet.

In Australia, fossil fuel divestment is being led by Universities and Local Councils as part of the global fossil fuel divestment campaign launched by 350.org in 2011.

Universities with fossil fuel divestment commitments

The following table shows universities that have made fossil fuel divestment commitments.

NoStateUniversityAcronymFossil fuel divestment commitments
1ACTAustralian National UniversityANUPartially divest by targeting coal
2NSWUniversity of NewcastleNEWCASTLE“We no longer directly invest in fossil fuel companies and we have integrated Mercer’s ESG ratings across the University’s investments.”
3NSWUniversity of New South WalesUNSWSignificantly reducing their investment in fossil fuels
4NSWUniversity of SydneyUSYDDivestment from many of Australia's largest 200 oil and gas companies
5QLDQueensland University of TechnologyQUT“No fossil fuel direct investments” and “no fossil fuel investments of material significance”
6VICLa Trobe UniversityLATROBEFully divest from fossil-fuel related company investments over the next five years
7VICMonash UniversityMONASHPartially divest by targeting coal
8VICSwinburne University of TechnologySWINBURNE"Divest from companies that earn significant revenues from fossil fuel extraction or coal power generation"
9VICUniversity of MelbourneUNIMELBDivest from companies that do not meet the requirements of a to-be-developed “sustainable investment framework for managing material climate change risk”, by 2021

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate change strategies and action plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Change Strategy, please contact Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Part 1: University leadership – ambitious commitments

Introduction

We previously discussed in a 2017 blog post the actions and commitments of several universities who demonstrate sustainable energy leadership. We highlighted examples of leading clean energy and low carbon research, divestments from fossil fuels, and examples of targets and actions by universities to reduce their own carbon footprint.

As we have done with our analysis of local governments and communities, our new blog post series takes a more comprehensive look at the commitments, actions and achievements of Australia’s public tertiary education sector. Like local government, universities have the capacity to influence climate change responses well beyond their own operations, through their research, education, investments, as well as their commitments to renewables and climate change mitigation and adaptation within their operations.

In this first blog post, we highlight the ambitious renewable energy and net zero or carbon neutral commitments of 14 leading universities across Australia. In a later post, we will look at some of the actions and achievements of these institutions, highlighting actions they are taking to progress towards or exceed their targets.

In other blog posts in this series, we will report on a range of other aspects of universities’ climate change performance, including:

  • Renewable energy and carbon targets, commitments and achievements by 26 other universities across Australia
  • Commitments to built environment, such as Green Star certified buildings
  • Universities that are signatories to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their progress on these
  • Universities with fossil fuel divestment commitments
  • Case examples of leading projects and achievements

Universities 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality commitments

Carbon neutral and 100% renewables commitments by Australian universities
Carbon neutral and 100% renewables commitments by Australian universities

Below is the list of universities in Australia who have demonstrated sustainable energy leadership with their ambitious commitments to 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality.

NoStateUniversityRenewable energy CommitmentRenewable energy Commitment
1NSWCharles Sturt UniversityOnsite generation of renewable energy to all campusesFirst university to obtain NCOS/Climate Active-accredited carbon neutral status in 2015
2NSWUniversity of NewcastleDeliver 100% renewable electricity across our Newcastle and Central Coast campuses from 1 January 2020Achieve carbon neutrality by 2025
3NSWUniversity of New South Wales100% renewable electricity by 2020Carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020
4QLDUniversity of Queensland100% renewable energy by 2020Reduction in the university’s carbon footprint
5QLDUniversity of the Sunshine CoastWater battery located at USC - cuts energy usage by 40%Carbon neutral by 2025
6QLDUniversity of Southern QueenslandCommitted to achieve 100% renewable energy by installing a Sustainable Energy SolutionCarbon neutral by 2020
7SAFlinders UniversityGenerate 30% of our energy needs from renewable sourcesAchieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2021
8VICDeakin UniversitySustainable microgrid systems in the community and their effective integration with existing energy networksCarbon neutral by 2030
9VICLa Trobe UniversityRenewable energy project will increase our solar generation by 200%Carbon neutral by 2029 and our regional campuses are set to become carbon neutral by 2022.
10VICRMIT University100% renewable energy from 2019Carbon neutral by 2030
11VICMonash University100% renewable energy by 2030Net zero carbon emissions from Australian campuses by 2030
12VICSwinburne University of TechnologyCommit to 100% renewable energy procurement by 31 July 2020Carbon neutral by 2025
13VICUniversity of Melbourne100% renewable energy by 2021Carbon neutral by 2030
14WAUniversity of Western Australia100% renewable energy by 2025Energy carbon neutral by 2025

 

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies and timing actions appropriately. If you need help with developing emission scenarios that take into account policy settings, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Ambitious commitments by states, local governments and communities – October 2019

100% Renewables has been tracking ambitious carbon and renewable energy commitments made by all levels of Australian governments since we developed the 100% Renewable Energy Master Plan for Lismore City Council in 2014. In May 2017, we published our first blog post on the energy and carbon commitments of states, territories and local governments. In March 2018, we posted an update of the carbon and renewable energy commitments, and then again in October 2018.

With the ever-increasing number of ambitious public commitments being made by local councils, this update splits the commitments of local governments into ones that focus on council operations and those that focus on their communities.

For the first time, we are also now covering membership by local councils of the Cities Power Partnership, CEDAMIA, the Global Compact of Mayors, and C40.

As has now become customary, we present a graphic with state and territories commitments. We also show state-by-state commitments by local governments and communities. The ACT, NSW and Victorian councils are still leading the way.

States’ and territories’ climate change commitments

States and territories are committing to both renewable energy as well as carbon reduction targets. Most targets are in line with the Paris Agreement, which means that zero net emissions have to be reached by mid-century.

STATE OR TERRITORYRENEWABLE ENERGY COMMITMENTCARBON COMMITMENT
Australia~20% from renewable energy sources by 2020 (33,000 GWh by 2020)
(Target achieved)
26-28% emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2030
ACT100% renewable electricity by 2020 (Target achieved in October 2019)40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2020
Zero net emissions by 2045
NSW20% from renewable energy in line with the RETZero net emissions by 2050
NT50% renewable energy by 2030Zero net emissions by 2050
SA50% renewable energy production by 2025
(Target achieved in 2018)
Zero net emissions by 2050
TAS100% renewable energy by 2022Commitment to establish a zero net emissions target by 2050
QLD50% renewable energy by 2030Zero net emissions by 2050
VIC25% renewable energy by 2020
40% renewable energy by 2025
50% renewable energy by 2030
Zero net emissions by 2050
WANo targetZero net emissions by 2050
100% RE - Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by states and territories
Figure 1: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by states and territories

Capital cities’ climate change commitments

Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have been carbon neutral for many years and soon, they will be joined by Adelaide and the ACT Government. Perth has a carbon reduction target of 20%, while Hobart doesn’t have any official targets, but has a strong history of carbon reduction initiatives.

Exciting news is that from January 2019, Melbourne has been powered by 100% renewable energy, and they will soon be followed by the City of Sydney. If you are interested in how you can achieve 100% renewable energy, you can read our blog post on ‘Eight ways to achieve 100% renewable electricity’.

CAPITAL CITYCOMMITMENT
ACT Government100% renewable electricity by 2020
40% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2020
50–60% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2025
65–75% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2030
90-95% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2040
Net zero emissions by 2045
AdelaideZero net emissions from council operations by 2020
First carbon neutral town by 2050
Brisbane
Carbon neutral council from 2017
Melbourne100% renewable energy from 2019
Carbon neutral from 2012
Net zero emissions for the LGA by 2050
Sydney100% renewable energy for council operations by 2021
Carbon neutral from 2008
Reduce emissions by 70% for the LGA by 2030
Net zero emissions for the LGA by 2050

Local governments – ambitious commitments

This table showcases ambitious carbon and energy commitments by capital cities and local governments and their communities. ‘Ambitious’ means that commitments need to be broadly in line with science.

We split the tables into renewable energy commitments and carbon reduction commitments.

If you are interested in learning more about the difference between renewable energy and carbon targets, you can read our blog post on whether carbon neutral and 100% renewables are the same.

 

STATE OR TERRITORYLOCAL GOVERNMENTSRENEWABLE ENERGY COMMITMENTCARBON COMMITMENT
ACTACT100% renewable electricity by 202040% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2020
50-60% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2025
65-75% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2030
90-95% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2040
Net zero emissions by 2045
NSWBroken Hill Council100% renewable energy status by 2030
NSWBlacktown City CouncilNet-zero GHG emissions from electricity, fuel and gas by 2030
NSWBlue Mountains City CouncilCarbon neutral by 2025
NSWByron Bay Council100% renewable energy by 2027Net zero by 2025
NSWCity of Newcastle100% renewable electricity from 2020
NSWCoffs Harbour City Council100% renewable energy by 2030
NSWEurobodalla Shire Council100% renewable energy by 2030
NSWInner West Council100% renewable electricity by 2025Carbon neutral by 2025
100% divestment from fossil fuel
NSWKu-ring-gai CouncilReduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 or earlier
NSWKyogle Council25% electricity from on-site solar by 2025
50% renewable electricity by 2025
100% renewable electricity by 2030
NSWLismore City CouncilSelf-generate all electricity needs from renewable sources by 2023
NSWNambucca CouncilZero net carbon emissions within the 2030 to 2050 time frame
NSWParramatta CouncilCarbon neutral by 2022
NSWPort Macquarie-Hastings Council100% renewable energy by 2027
NSWRandwick Council100% renewable by 2030 for stationary and transport energyZero emissions by 2030
NSWShoalhaven City Council25% renewables by 2023 and 50% by 2030Net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
Reduce emissions by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels.
NSWSydney100% renewable energy for council operations by 2021Carbon neutral from 2008
NSWTweed Shire Council50% renewable energy by 2025
NSWWilloughby City CouncilBy 2028 emit 50% less GHG emissions from operations compared with 2008/09
Achieve net zero emissions by 2050
QLDBrisbane City CouncilCarbon neutral since 2017
QLDGold Coast City CouncilCarbon neutral by 2020
QLDLogan CouncilCarbon neutral by 2022
QLDNoosa CouncilNet zero emissions by 2026
QLDSunshine Coast CouncilNet zero emissions by 2041
SAAdelaide Hills CouncilAspiration to reach 100% renewable energyAspiration to reach carbon neutrality
VICCity of Ballarat Council100% renewables by 2025Zero emissions by 2025
VICCity of Greater Bendigo100% renewable energy by 2036
VICCity of Greater GeelongZero carbon council by 2050
VICCity of Port PhillipZero net emissions by 2020
VICCity of Yarra100% renewable electricity since 2019Carbon neutral since 2012
VICHepburn CouncilCarbon neutral by 2021
VICHobsons BayReach zero net GHG emissions from council's activities by 2020
VICGlen EiraNet zero emissions from operations by 2030
VICManningham100% carbon neutral by 2020
VICMelbourne100% renewable energy from 2019Carbon neutral by 2020
VICMoreland Council100% renewable energy by 2019Carbon neutral for operations since 2012
VICMornington Peninsula CouncilCarbon neutral by 2021
VICWyndhamCarbon neutral for corporate GHG emissions by 2040
WACity of BayswaterCorporate renewable energy target of 100% by 2030Corporate GHG emissions reduction target of 100% by 2040
WACity of Fremantle100% renewable energy by 2025Carbon neutral since 2009
WAMandurahCarbon neutral by 2020


 

100% Renewables is proud to have developed many of the renewable energy strategies and plans for councils that have committed to ambitious targets. We are also involved with many other councils that are delivering on their targets, including:

  • Broken Hill Council
  • Blue Mountains City Council
  • Coffs Harbour City Council
  • Inner West Council
  • Kyogle Council
  • Lismore City Council
  • Nambucca Shire Council
  • Port Macquarie-Hastings Council
  • City of Parramatta Council
  • Randwick City Council
  • Tweed Shire Council
  • Willoughby City Council

 

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by NSW councils and the ACT Government

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by VIC councils

Figure 3: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in VIC as at Oct 19

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by QLD councils

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in Queensland as at Oct 19
Figure 4: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in Queensland as at Oct 19

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by SA councils

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in South Australia as at Oct 19
Figure 5: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in South Australia as at Oct 19

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by WA councils

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in Western Australia as at Oct 19
Figure 6: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in Western Australia as at Oct 19

Community climate change commitments

Until recently, most local governments focused on their own operations by developing targets and actions plans. With the increasing need to rapidly reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change, more and more councils are now looking at how they can lead and facilitate carbon mitigation in their communities.

The following table shows renewable energy and carbon commitments made by local governments on behalf of their community.

 

STATE OR TERRITORYCOMMUNITYRENEWABLE ENERGY COMMITMENTCARBON COMMITMENT
NSWByron Bay CommunityNet zero by 2025
NSWHawkesbury City CouncilCarbon neutral LGA by 2036
NSWInner West Council100% of schools have installed solar by 2036
Solar PV capacity is 20 times greater than in 2017 by 2036
Community emissions are 75% less than in 2017 in 2036
NSWLockhartPlan for town to be powered by renewable energy and operating on a microgrid
NSWMullumbimby100% renewable energy by 2020
NSWSydneyReduce emissions by 70% for the LGA by 2030
Net zero emissions for the LGA by 2050
NSWTyalgum VillagePlan to be off the grid
100% renewable energy, with batteries
NSWUralla TownPlan to be first zero net energy town
NSWWilloughby City CouncilBy 2028, our community will emit 30% less GHG emissions compared with 2010/11
VICCity of DarebinZero net carbon emissions across Darebin by 2020
VICHealesvilleNet zero town by 2027
VICHobsons BayReach zero net GHG emissions from the community’s activities by 2030
VICGlen EiraNet zero emissions from the community by 2050
VICMelbourneNet zero emissions by 2050
VICMoreland CouncilZero carbon emissions Moreland by 2040
VICNatimuk100% renewable energy with community solar farm
VICNewstead VillagePlan to be 100% renewable
VICWarrnambool CouncilCarbon neutral city by 2040
VICWyndhamZero net GHG emissions from electricity use in the municipality by 2040
VICYackandandah Town100% renewable energy by 2022
WACity of FremantleZero carbon for LGA by 2025
WAPerth32% reduction in citywide emissions by 2031

 

At this stage, only the NSW graphic has been split into council operations’ and communities’ commitments. For other states, please refer to the maps in the previous section.

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by NSW communities

Local governments in Australia that have declared a climate emergency

Local governments are playing a key role in leading the climate emergency response, which is why CEDAMIA (derived from Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation In Action) campaigns for a Climate Emergency Declaration at all levels of government.

CEDAMIA calls on all Australian federal, state, and territory parliaments and all local councils to:

  • Declare a climate emergency
  • Commit to providing maximum protection for all people, economies, species, ecosystems, and Civilisations, and to fully restoring a safe climate
  • Mobilise the required resources and take effective action at the necessary scale and speed
  • Transform the economy to zero emissions and make a fair contribution to drawing down the excess carbon dioxide in the air, and
  • Encourage all other governments around the world to take these same actions.

CEDAMIA works in conjunction in conjunction with CACE – Council Action in the Climate Emergency. Step 1 is to declare a climate emergency, and step 2 is to mobilise your community and move into emergency mode. According to CACE, a local government’s key role is to

  • Lobby state and national governments to adopt and fund full climate emergency response
  • Encourage other councils to implement a climate emergency response through networks and by leading by example
  • Have local emergency action through education, mitigation and resilience building
  • Educating council staff about the climate emergency and what council can do to respond

For a great example of a climate emergency plan, download the Climate Emergency Darebin Strategic Plan.

The following local governments have declared a climate emergency:

STATELOCAL GOVERNMENT
ACTAustralian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
NSWBega Valley Shire Council
NSWBellingen Shire Council
NSWBlue Mountains City Council
NSWBroken Hill City Council
NSWByron Shire Council
NSWCanada Bay City Council
NSWCanterbury Bankstown City Council
NSWCentral Coast Council
NSWClarence Valley Council
NSWGlen Innes Severn Shire Council
NSWHawkesbury City Council
NSWInner West Council
NSWLane Cove Council
NSWLismore City Council
NSWNewcastle City Council
NSWNorth Sydney Council
NSWNorthern Beaches Council
NSWRandwick City Council
NSWRyde City Council
NSWSydney City Council
NSWTweed Shire Council
NSWUpper Hunter Shire Council
NSWWollongong City Council
NSWWoollahra Municipal Council
NTDarwin City Council
QLDNoosa Shire Council
SAAdelaide City Council
SAAdelaide Hills Council
SABurnside City Council
SAGawler Town Council
SALight Regional Council
SAParliament of South Australia Upper House
SAPort Adelaide Enfield City Council
SAPort Lincoln City Council
TASHobart City Council
TASKingborough Council
TASLaunceston City Council
VICBallarat City Council
VICBanyule City Council
VICBass Coast Shire Council
VICBrimbank City Council
VICCardinia Shire Council
VICDarebin City Council
VICHepburn Shire Council
VICHobsons Bay City Council
VICIndigo Shire Council
VICMaribyrnong City Council
VICMelbourne City Council
VICMoonee Valley City Council
VICMoreland City Council
VICMornington Peninsula Shire Council
VICPort Phillip City Council
VICSurf Coast Shire Council
VICWarrnambool City Council
VICYarra City Council
VICYarra Ranges Council
WAAugusta-Margaret River Shire Council
WADenmark Shire Council
WAFremantle City Council
WASwan City Council
WATown of Victoria Park
WAVincent City Council


Local Governments that are members of Cities Power Partnership

The Cities Power Partnership (CPP) is Australia’s largest local government climate network, made up over 113 councils from across the country, representing almost 11 million Australians. Local councils who join the partnership make five action pledges in either renewable energy, efficiency, transport or working in partnership to tackle climate change.

There are dozens of actions that councils can choose from ranging from putting solar on council assets, switching to electric vehicles, to opening up old landfills for new solar farms. The following table shows current local government members of CPP.

 

STATELOCAL GOVERNMENT
ACTCanberra
NSWAlbury City Council
NSWBathurst Regional Council
NSWBayside Council
NSWBega Valley Shire
NSWBellingen Shire Council
NSWBlacktown City Council
NSWBlue Mountains City Council
NSWBroken Hill City Council
NSWByron Shire Council
NSWCity of Canterbury-Bankstown
NSWCentral Coast Council
NSWCoffs Harbour
NSWCumberland Council
NSWEurobodalla Council
NSWGeorges River Council
NSWHawkesbury City Council
NSWHornsby Shire Council
NSWInner West Council
NSWKiama Council
NSWKu-ring-gai Council
NSWLane Cove Council
NSWLismore City Council
NSWMosman Council
NSWMidCoast Council
NSWMuswellbrook Shire Council
NSWNambucca Shire Council
NSWThe City of Newcastle 
NSWNorthern Beaches Council
NSWNorth Sydney Council
NSWOrange City Council
NSWParkes Shire Council
NSWCity of Parramatta
NSWPenrith City Council
NSWPort Macquarie-Hastings
NSWRandwick City Council
NSWCity of Ryde
NSWShellharbour City Council 
NSWShoalhaven City Council
NSWCity of Sydney
NSWTweed Shire
NSWUpper Hunter Shire Council
NSWCity of Wagga Wagga
NSWWaverley Council
NSWWilloughby Council
NSWWingecarribee Shire
NSWWoollahra Municipal Council
QLDBrisbane City Council 
QLDBundaberg Regional Council
QLDCairns Regional Council
QLDDouglas Shire Council
QLDIpswich City Council 
QLDLivingstone Shire Council 
QLDLogan City Council
QLDMackay Regional Council
QLDNoosa Shire Council
QLDSunshine Coast Council
SAAdelaide Hills Council 
SACity of Adelaide
SAAlexandrina Council
SACity of Charles Sturt
SAGoyder Regional Council
SAKangaroo Island Council
SAMount Barker District Council 
SACity of Onkaparinga
SACity of Victor Harbor
NTAlice Springs Town Council
NTCity of Darwin
WACity of Armadale
WAShire of Augusta-Margaret River
WATown of Bassendean
WACity of Bayswater
WACity of Belmont
WACity of Bunbury
WACity of Busselton
WACity of Canning
WACity of Cockburn
WAShire of Donnybrook-Balingup
WACity of Fremantle
WACity of Gosnells
WACity of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
WACity of Kwinana
WACity of Melville
WAShire of Mundaring
WAShire of Northam 
WACity of Rockingham
WAShire of Serpentine Jarrahdale
WACity of Swan
WATown of Victoria Park 
VICCity of Ballarat
VICBenalla Rural City Council 
VICCity of Boroondara
VICCity of Casey
VICCity of Darebin
VICCity of Greater Dandenong
VICHepburn Shire Council
VICMildura Rural City Council
VICCity of Monash
VICMoreland City Council
VICMornington Peninsula Shire
VICMount Alexander Shire Council 
VICCity of Port Phillip
VICStrathbogie Shire Council
VICStonnington City Council
VICRural City of Wangaratta
VICWarrnambool City Council
VICWyndham City Council
VICCity of Yarra
VICYarra Ranges Council 
TASBrighton Council
TASNorthern Midlands Council
TASHuon Valley Council
TASGlamorgan Spring Bay

Local Governments that are members of Global Covenant of Mayors

Global Covenant of Mayors or GCoM is the largest global alliance for city climate leadership. GCoM is built upon the commitment of over 10,000 cities and local governments across 6 continents and 139 countries. In total, these cities represent more than 800 million people. By 2030, Global Covenant cities and local governments could collectively reduce 1.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year.

In Australia, 26 councils are members of GCoM. To join the GCoM, you need to develop citywide knowledge, goals, and plans that aim at least as high as your country’s own climate protection commitment(s) or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Climate Agreement.

As a partner of the GCoM, you need to undertake the following:

 

STATELOCAL GOVERNMENT
ACTAustralian Capital Territory (Canberra) 
NSWByron Shire
NSWNewcastle
NSWPenrith
NSWSydney
NSWTweed Shire 
NSWWollongong 
SAAdelaide
SAMount Barker
TASHobart Australia
VICDarebin City Council
VICGlen Eira 
VICHobsons Bay City Council 
VICManningham 
VICMaribyrnong 
VICMelbourne 
VICMelton
VICMoreland 
VICMornington Peninsula Shire 
VICPort Phillip 
VICWyndham City Council
VICYarra 
WAJoondalup 
WAMandurah 
WAMelville 
WAPerth

Local Governments that are members of C40

C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. C40 supports cities to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change. In Australia, Melbourne and Sydney are members.

If you need help with your own target or plan

100% Renewables are experts in helping local governments and communities develop renewable energy and carbon targets and strategies. If you need help with developing a target and plan that takes your unique situation into consideration, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Any changes?

Please let us know if there are any commitments that are missing, or if any commitment needs a correction.

Please share

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

You are also welcome to contact us for a copy of these graphics.

Calculating your GPC community inventory – Part 4

In our first blog post in this series, we introduced community emission inventories. In the previous articles, we examined categories and scopes of the Global Protocol for Community-scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) and looked at the differences between a BASIC, BASIC+ and a territorial inventory. In this article, we discuss how you can calculate your community’s emissions.

Introduction

Calculating versus measuring carbon emissions

It is possible to measure carbon emissions. Examples are monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from a coal-fired power plant or measuring the emissions from exhaust pipes in vehicles. In most cases, however, you will calculate emissions by applying a so-called ‘emissions factor’.

How are greenhouse gas emissions expressed?

Greenhouse gas emissions are expressed in tonnes of CO2-e (carbon dioxide equivalent).

When reporting under the GPC, you need to record greenhouse gas emissions of every gas, plus the tonnes of CO2-e.

What is CO2-e?

Every greenhouse gas has a different global warming potential (GWP) over 100 years. The GWPs are determined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The most current assessment of GWPs was released in 2013 in IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

When reporting your community inventory, you should use the latest IPCC Assessment Report or the version used by your country’s national inventory body.

Australia, as an example, uses the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) when converting different greenhouse gases to CO2-e. Carbon dioxide is assigned a GWP of 1. Methane has a GWP of 25 and nitrous oxide has a GWP of 298. These GWPs are used to convert greenhouse gases into one single measure, CO2-e.

As an example, if 1,000 tonnes of methane emissions are emitted in your community, this would translate to 25,000 tonnes of CO2-e.

Activity data and emission factors

Calculations are based on converting data that you have available into emissions using a ‘conversion’ or an ‘emissions factor’.

GHG emissions = Activity data x emissions factor

Activity data measures a level of activity that leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of activity data are:

  • Electricity consumption
  • Natural gas consumption
  • Litres of fuel used in a car
  • Tonnes of waste sent to landfill
  • Number of sheep

An emissions factor converts your activity data into a mass of greenhouse gas emissions.

Example of calculating emissions associated with electricity consumption

Say your city consumed 1,000 MWh of electricity. The emissions associated with your electricity use differ depending on how this electricity is generated. If mostly fossil fuels like coal are used to produce electricity, then this will produce more emissions compared to renewables.

Let’s take a look at the emissions resulting from the same electricity consumption in three different English-speaking countries by applying the relevant emission factors.

Figure 1: GHG emissions of different countries with the same underlying electricity consumption

The emissions for Australia are higher than for the USA and the UK with the same underlying consumption due to most of the electricity being produced from fossil fuel sources.

Note on emission factors:

The factors for Australia and the USA are averages across all regions for 2019.

Factor sources:

Selecting an appropriate calculation methodology

Selecting a calculation methodology depends on several things:

  • The purpose of your GHG inventory. Considerations here include whether you are reporting internally or to your community, or whether you are participating in programs like the C40, or the Global Covenant of Mayors.
  • Availability of data. Some data may be easily obtainable, whereas, with others, you may need more comprehensive data gathering methods.
  • Consistency with your country’s national inventory reporting programs. You may need to select a specific calculation methodology to fit in with how your country reports its national inventory.

No matter what calculation method you choose, you need to make sure to document the calculation method you have used.

Data collection

A big (and the most time consuming) part in calculating a community’s inventory is data collection.

If you are lucky, you have existing data for your selected inventory boundary and the reporting level you have selected. If not, you will have to generate new data (which involves surveying your community) or adapt existing data.

Examples of data sources

The following shows a list of possible data sources you could use (as described in the GPC):

  • Government departments
  • Statistics agencies
  • Your country’s national GHG inventory report
  • Universities and research institutes
  • Scientific and technical articles in environmental books, journals and reports
  • Sector experts/stakeholder organisations

Identifying emission factors

Your first choice of emission factors should be local, regional, or national factors published by the Government. If these are not available, you can use IPCC default factors or data from the Emission Factor Database, or other standard values from international bodies that reflect national circumstances. Table 2.2 of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines provides a comprehensive guide to identifying potential sources of emission factors.



Quality assessment of activity data and emissions factors

Ideally, you would want the most accurate activity data and emissions factors you can get. However, this will not always be possible, and sometimes, you need to trade-off between accuracy and completeness of your inventory. Generally speaking, you would prefer your data and emissions factors to be:

  • Reliable
  • Peer-reviewed
  • Reputable
  • Robust
  • Recent
  • Specific to your area
  • Publicly available

To be compliant with the GPC, you need to evaluate both the quality of your activity data as well as that of your emission factors. The quality can be low, medium or high as shown in the graphic below.

Figure 2: Assessing the quality of activity data and emissions factors

How to calculate the most common emissions in a GPC inventory

The following section provides more guidance on how you can calculate the most common emission sources in your GPC inventory.

Calculating emissions from stationary energy consumption

Examples of stationary energy consumption are electricity and natural gas use.

Step 1 – Gather activity data

Obtain activity data for each fuel type, ideally disaggregated by sub-sector (e.g. residential buildings, commercial buildings, etc.). Ideally, you would get this data from the network provider or utility. If this is not possible, you can survey your community, or model the energy consumption by determining energy intensities by facility type.

If you cannot disaggregate the data into sub-sectors, you can apportion the total consumption information to each sub-sector or building type. If data is not available for your city, you can use regional or national consumption data scaled down to your population size.

Step 2 – Calculate emissions:

Multiply the fuel/electricity consumption with an appropriate emissions factor.

Calculating emissions from transportation

Emissions from transportation can be difficult to calculate. Transportation consists of the sub-sectors on-road, railways, water transport, aviation and off-road transportation. In this article, we are focusing on on-road transport. Please refer to the GPC for guidance in calculating other transportation-related emissions.

When it comes to on-road transportation, there is a large variation in available data, and the GPC does not prescribe a specific method. Most cities start with a top-down method that uses fuel consumption as a proxy for travel behaviour. It’s fairly easy to calculate emissions this way and does not require a high level of technical capacity, but it makes it difficult to track emission reduction actions.

With more accurate or relevant information available over time, cities tend to change their method to a more detailed, bottom-up approach. Bottom-up methods use detailed activity data, such as vehicle km travelled per mode and vehicle fuel intensity.

Step 1 – Choose calculation method:

The GPC encourages cities to calculate emissions based on four common methods and recommends the induced activity approach.

  1. Fuel sales method (top-down)
  2. Induced activity method (bottom-up) – transportation emissions induced by the city, including trips that begin, end, or are fully contained within the city (usually excluding pass-through trips).
  3. Geographic or territorial method (bottom-up) – emissions from transportation activity within city boundaries
  4. Resident activity method (bottom-up) – emissions from transportation activity undertaken by city residents

Step 2 – Gather activity data:

If you have chosen the fuel sales method, you can obtain data from fuel dispensing facilities or tax receipts. Where this is not possible, data may be available at a regional scale, which can be downscaled based on vehicle ownership data.

If you have chosen a bottom-up method, you need to obtain data from models or surveys.

Step 3 – Calculate emissions:

Multiply the fuel/electricity (electric vehicles) consumption with an appropriate emissions factor.

Calculating emissions from waste

Here, you calculate waste that is not being recycled, and ends up in landfill, biological treatment or incineration. Biological treatment refers to composting and anaerobic digestion of organic waste.

Step 1 – Choose calculation method:

Choose the calculation method

  1. First order of decay (FOD) – emissions are calculated based on actual emissions during the calculation year
  2. Methane commitment (MC) – emissions are calculated based on waste disposed in the calculation year

Step 2 – Gather activity data:

Obtain activity data from waste collection services and weigh-ins at the landfill site. Alternatively, you can multiply the per capita waste generation rate by the population. If you have chosen the FOD method, you will also need to collect historical waste data.

Step 3 – Calculate emissions:

Depending on the method chosen, calculate emissions based on guidance given in the GPC.

Calculating emissions from wastewater

Step 1 – Gather activity data:

Obtain the quantity of wastewater generated in your community, how it is treated (aerobically – in presence of oxygen, or anaerobically – in absence of oxygen), the wastewater’s source and its organic content.

Step 2 – Calculate emissions:

Calculate emissions for methane and nitrous oxide based on guidance given in the GPC.

Conclusion

It is challenging to develop carbon footprints that are in alignment with the GPC. Sometimes, it is easier to get the help of an expert who can guide you through the process. Here at 100% Renewables, we are certified City Climate Planners, proving our experience in community-level GHG emissions inventory accounting.

If you need help with developing community emissions inventories or pathways for emission reduction, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Reporting your GPC inventory – BASIC versus BASIC+ – Part 3

In our first blog post in this series, we introduced community emission inventories. In the previous article, we examined categories and scopes of the Global Protocol for Community-scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) in greater detail.  In this blog post, we will look at the differences between a BASIC, BASIC+ and a territorial inventory.

We recommend that you read our introductory article first to get a basic understanding of GPC inventories.

Reporting emissions under the GPC

As per our previous article, emissions have to be classified by scope and (sub)sector, but there are two different ways you report these emissions.

  1. Scopes framework – territorial accounting
  2. City-induced framework

These two frameworks sum and report carbon emissions differently.

Under the territorial, or ‘scopes’ framework, you report all carbon emissions occurring within the city boundary (scope 1 emissions sources). Emission sources outside the city boundary are classified as scope 2 and scope 3.

However, if you only report on scope 1 emissions, you leave out the details of other emission sources that a city/LGA is responsible for. Therefore, the GPC also requires reporting under the ‘city-induced’ framework. Under this framework, carbon emissions due to activities taking place within a city are calculated, which takes selected scope 1, 2 and 3 emission sources into account.

Figure 1: The territorial and city-induced ways of reporting a GPC inventory

All emissions a city is responsible for are counted, no matter whether they occur within or outside the city. There are two options to report under the ‘city-induced’ framework, BASIC and BASIC+. The BASIC level allows you to report on standard emission sources in a city.

The BASIC+ level covers more emission sources. This means that a community has to report the most common scope 1, 2 and 3 emission sources. Cities should try and report as many emission sources as possible – this is usually constrained by what data sources are available.

Territorial reporting

One of the advantages of using the GPC in compiling your city’s or LGA’s carbon inventory is that it allows you to add all discrete inventories up to a national level. The way this works is that the boundaries of each inventory must not overlap and that you only count scope 1 emission sources.

If you only total scope 1 (‘territorial’) emissions, then you are reporting emissions occurring within the geographic boundary of a city, or LGA. This way of reporting community emissions is consistent with national-level greenhouse gas reporting.

When you are reporting under the territorial reporting level, you need to include the following scope 1 emission sources:

  • Energy (both stationary and in-boundary transport)
  • Waste and wastewater
  • IPPU (only under BASIC+)
  • AFOLU (only under BASIC+)

Emissions from grid-supplied energy are calculated at the point of energy generation. This means that you are reporting energy generation supplied to the grid within your city boundaries under scope 1, but you would not include this source in your BASIC/BASIC+ totals.

Emissions from waste are calculated at the point of waste disposed. This means that waste imported from outside the city but treated inside the city will be part of the scope 1 total under the territorial approach.

BASIC reporting

The BASIC level of reporting covers scope 1 and scope 2 emission sources from energy (both for stationary as well as transport purposes), as well as scope 1 and scope 3 emissions from waste.

If you are reporting under the BASIC reporting level, you need to include the following emission sources:

  • Energy (both stationary and transport), scopes 1 and 2
  • Waste and wastewater, scopes 1 and 3

You will need to report all carbon emissions from stationary energy sources such as natural gas consumption, in scope 1, and those from the use of grid-supplied electricity in scope 2.

You will also need to report fugitive emissions associated with coal, oil and natural gas systems under scope 1.

You need to report all carbon emissions from transportation fuels occurring within the city boundary in scope 1, and carbon emissions from grid-supplied electricity used for transportation within the city boundary in scope 2 (e.g., electric vehicle charging).

Emissions from grid-supplied energy are calculated at the point of energy consumption and emissions from waste at the point of waste generation. This means that under the city-induced framework, carbon emissions from the disposal or treatment of waste generated within the city boundary is accounted for, no matter whether the waste is treated inside (scope 1) or outside (scope 3) the city boundary.



BASIC+ reporting

The BASIC+ level requires communities to cover a broader range of emission sources in addition to the ones under the BASIC level. These emissions cover sources such as industrial processes (e.g., steel production), product use (e.g., paraffin use), agriculture, forestry and land use, and transboundary transportation.

BASIC+ also requires you to report scope 3 emissions associated with energy consumption (both stationary and transport). In the case of electricity consumption, these are emissions associated with transmission and distribution losses. For natural gas, petrol or diesel consumption, these are emissions attributable to upstream emissions in the production and transportation of the fuel.

Because scope 3 emission factors for energy consumption are readily available in most cases, cities that only report under BASIC also tend to report on these emission sources as part of an extended BASIC inventory.

Not all communities will have big industries or many agricultural emissions in their city/LGA. However, for the ones that do, they should be striving to report under BASIC+.

If you are reporting under the BASIC+ reporting level, you need to include the following scope 1, 2 and 3 emission sources:

  • All BASIC emission sources
  • Scope 3 emissions from electricity consumption (T&D losses)
  • Scope 3 emissions from transboundary transportation
  • IPPU
  • AFOLU

Summary of differences between BASIC and BASIC+ level reporting

The following table summarises the main differences between the two reporting levels.

Figure 2: Summary of differences between BASIC and BASIC+ level reporting

What is the minimum information you will need to report?

As a minimum, you need to report the following information:

  • Geographic area of the inventory boundary
  • Time span of the inventory (typically one year)
  • City information (population, GDP)
  • Emission sources across stationary (scope 1 and 2), in-boundary travel (scope 1 and 2), waste (scope 1 and 3)
  • Total emissions in tonnes of CO2-e, but also per constituent gas (CO2, CH4, N20)
  • Activity data, emission factors, data sources, assumptions and methodologies
  • Data quality assessment

It is challenging to develop carbon footprints that are in alignment with the GPC. Sometimes, it is easier to get the help of an expert who can guide you through the process. Here at 100% Renewables, we are certified City Climate Planners, proving our experience in community-level GHG emissions inventory accounting.

If you need help with developing community emissions inventories or pathways for emission reduction, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.