Last week, the NSW Government released it’s policy plan for addressing climate change across the state. On 16 November 2016, the Government hosted a webinar for further information about the development and implementation of the plan. NSW is preparing for the impacts of climate change while simultaneously mitigating state-wide emissions to reach the primary target of net zero emissions by 2050, working to reflect the Paris Agreement and Commonwealth climate change plans. NSW has seen a half-degree rise in temperature since 1990. In preparing for climate change, the government is seeking to improve public knowledge about the associated issues and opportunities, supporting grassroots action on climate change and incentivising new markets for adaptation technology and services.
The webinar discussed potential actions for climate change in NSW to fall into five key areas:
The government will invest up to $200 million in energy efficiency. The 500 largest energy users consume 30% of all of NSW electricity. Targeted reductions for these users will be a key focus of the energy efficiency target. On a smaller scale, new homes will be subject to the Building Sustainability Index target to integrate their efficiency capacity into design in anticipation of climate change. Energy efficient appliance standard will also be introduced, which will require cross-jurisdictional co-operation. Together, the overall plan for energy efficiency is expected to annually save 16 000 GWh by 2020. There will be a focus on emissions savings to achieve this objective working with heavy industries to determine reductive possibility. This will include enhancing NSW business access to the Commonwealth’s Emissions Reduction Fund.
Renewable energy will be incentivised in state by creating price guarantees for new projects through the contracts for difference program which will be executed through a competitive tendering process. There will be inter-body co-operation of on the development of renewable energy management processes. These projects will filter down to local government and communities who will be able to own, buy and trade community energy, with the eventual objective of building capacity of communities to anticipate and be resilient to the challenges of climate change.
The government policy further supports innovation for clean reliable energy. This will involve partnership and co-design between community and local council as well as government investment in supporting start-up investment in clean energy with the additional hope of making Sydney the Asia-Pacific carbon hub. Innovation will be supported by stable policy environments creating investment certainty for emerging technologies.
The final aspect in regards to accelerating advanced energy sources is improving vehicle productivity. This will require advocating for ambitious fuel efficiency standards, providing incentives for very efficient light vehicles and investigating public electric vehicle fleets and public charging infrastructure. Practical outputs of these plans include an incentive scheme targeting commercial fleet managers by encouraging super-efficient vehicles and charging infrastructure through partnering with car manufactures.
The NSW Climate Change Policy Framework aims to reflect global and domestic commitments to climate change mitigation by engaging communities, business and local government. Investment will focus on local capacity building, incentivising innovation and industry consciousness of energy efficiency and accountability. The grassroots collaborative approach to climate change action is reflective of the structure of the Paris Agreement, that has rejected the traditional administrative top-down approach to climate change action, rather recognising the sustainability of outcomes are best reached by community participation throughout the entire process. The NSW Climate Change Policy Framework is structured around this feedback system that connects governments, communities and business to achieve the ultimate goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Consultation is ongoing for another month and is seeking feedback and further ideas for implementation of action areas mentioned in the Plan. Click here for further information.
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