Canberra’s environmental watchdog has given the thumbs up to the ACT Government’s response to climate change in the region, Minister for the Environment Simon Corbell and Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment Robert Neil announced today.
The commissioner today released his report into the government’s implementation of the ACT’s climate change policy, which provides an assessment of the ACT’s steps so far to reduce emissions and adapt to future climate change.
The report found that government policy, combined with greenhouse gas reduction targets, has positioned the ACT among the world’s most progressive jurisdictions in terms of mitigating the impacts of climate change.
“I am pleased that this report recognises the considerable progress of the ACT in implementing some of the world’s most progressive emission reduction targets,” Corbell said.
“The ACT Government will study the challenges and opportunities presented in this report and make a formal response later this year.”
Neil said the ACT Government was responding to the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change through its targets of 90 per cent renewable energy use by 2020 and 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2020, which were the most ambitious legislative targets of any state or territory in Australia.
“For the territory to continue adapting to climate change and leading a sustainable future it is vital that climate change policies, including AP2 and the actions it contains, remain contemporary and are continually reviewed and updated,” Mr Neil said.
“There is still a long road ahead. Climate change is, and will continue to be, one of the biggest challenges facing governments around the globe. I look forward to continuing to work with the ACT Government on the implementation of strategies to address climate change.”
ACT Government policies have already positioned the territory at the forefront of climate change adaptation and mitigation in Australia. A solar reverse auction and a wind reverse auction have resulted in more than 240 megawatt capacity of renewable energy being secured for the ACT.
Combined with the 45 megawatt capacity of household rooftop solar already operating in the ACT, the large-scale solar and wind farms commissioned through the reverse auctions will supply about 40 per cent of the ACT’s electricity needs by 2017.
The cost of meeting the 90 per cent renewable energy target is expected to peak at about $4.67 per household per week in 2020 before diminishing afterwards. This cost is offset by savings through government mandated programs like the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme.
AP2: a new climate change strategy and action plan for the Australian Capital Territory is the second action plan and update to the ACT Climate Change Strategy: weathering the change (Action Plan 1 2007–2011).
The policy contains a set of actions designed to achieve the ACT’s legislated 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
The Office of the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability’s Implementation Status Report: A report on the implementation of AP2: a new climate change strategy and action plan for the Australian Capital Territory is available at www.environmentcommissioner.act.gov.au/
(Simon Corbell media release)