8 Mar 2016


The federal government today revealed its plan to help Australian cities go carbon neutral.

Australia’s Environment Minister Greg Hunt made the announcement at the Urban Development Institute of Australia's National Congress in Adelaide today.

It will see the National Carbon Offset Standard extended to cover cities, precincts and buildings. The NCOS currently provides a benchmark for businesses and other organisations voluntarily seeking to be carbon neutral for their operations, products, services or events.

With over two-thirds of Australia’s population living in cities, offsetting emissions from cities is an important part of the broader effort to cut carbon pollution.

At the moment voluntary activities under the scheme are not additional to the Government’s currently weak carbon pollution reduction targets set for Australia.

Climate Change Policy Manager with WWF-Australia, Adrian Enright, said today’s announcement was positive, but the Australian Government will need to lift its game in light of the outcomes of the new ambitious global Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Voluntary reductions in emissions by individuals, businesses and cities are important, but they should be counted in addition to the Government's current 2020 and 2030 pollution reduction targets set for Australia,” Mr Enright said.

“Individuals, businesses and cities will make the extra effort if they know it will make a real difference. The Government needs to significantly strengthen its pollution reduction targets and make voluntary contributions additional to its targets."

“Australia can’t play its part in meeting the commitments made in Paris on voluntary contributions alone."

“The Government needs to put in place a long-term plan to facilitate the transition to a clean economy, that includes a price and limit on carbon pollution."

“Global momentum is overwhelmingly behind putting a price on pollution, as the most effective and efficient way to deliver cuts - in addition to supporting voluntary action.”

WWF-Australia Media Contact: Daniel Rockett, National Media Manager, 0432 206 592, drockett@wwf.org.au