The tree planting ceremony with Mayor Penny Taylor and acting CEO Cliff Frewing. Image – Anneke de Boer.
  • The City of Subiaco has been certified as a carbon neutral locality
  • This was celebrated today with a tree planting
  • The certification was achieved by minimising, eliminating and offsetting emissions

Today, the Mayor of Subiaco Penny Taylor along with acting CEO Cliff Frewing planted a tree in celebration of becoming Western Australia’s first certified carbon neutral local government.

The accreditation is a part of the Commonwealth’s Climate Active program.

The commemoration included the unveiling of new artwork on one of the City’s electric vehicles.

Mayor Taylor said the achievement would not bring a noticeable change for the community because it is something the city has been working towards for some time.

The Mayor emphasised at the tree planting ceremony that the City has always considered sustainability and emission reduction in its goals.

Mayor Penny Taylor announcing the new carbon neutral status. Image – Anneke de Boer

Introducing solar panels and energy-efficient systems, increasing efficiency in water use and waste reduction are some of the steps taken by the City of Subiaco.

“The certification is… an achievement over a number of years worth of work. Those in the community who have championed the city being leaders in the climate change space, I’m sure will be equally as proud as I am about this certification occurring.” 

Penny Taylor, Subiaco Mayor

The commemoration included unveiling the artwork on the electric vehicle. Image – Anneke de Boer

What does it mean to be certified ‘Carbon Neutral’?

The carbon neutral certification is not only available to precincts and cities but can also be awarded to organisations, products, services, events and buildings.

For an entity to be certified it must meet the requirements of the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard. This boils down to the total output of emissions being countered by purchasable offsets. The total operations of the entity must be net-zero in order to be classified.

Mayor Taylor explained that this includes minimising, eliminating and offsetting emissions.

Offsets can come in many forms. For the City of Subiaco, this meant investing in the following projects:

  • The Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor, Western Australia. This is a native reforestation project in a 200km corridor in the northern Wheatbelt of Southwest Australia.
  • Aboriginal Savanna Burning, Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory.  The project focuses on carbon farming and fire management aiming to prevent destructive bushfires and keep the land healthy.
  • Wind power based electricity generation, India.  This is a renewable electricity project that harnesses wind power and feeds it into the local grid aiming to help alleviate poverty and improve infrastructure.
The tree planting ceremony. Image – Anneke de Boer

While the certification is a promising step towards combating climate change, it is certainly not ‘job done’. There is a risk of organisations avoiding real climate action and instead, buying enough offsets to get the Climate Active trade mark accreditation.

The City of Subiaco says it is committed to targets in pursuit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its operations. By 2025, the city aims to have 100% renewable energy, to reduce energy consumption by 20%.

By 2030, the City aims to have reduced operational greenhouse gas emissions by 45%.

Mayor Taylor believes many local governments in the state will soon join the ranks of the Carbon Neutral localities.

“There are definitely other local governments who have made this a priority. We may have had to get there first but it’s not a race it’s a collaboration,” she said.

“Getting the accreditation is the tick at the end, what’s really important is taking carbon out of the atmosphere, that’s what it’s all about.”

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