RISING SEAS: The region's coast is at risk from climate change, according to a report being released today.
RISING SEAS: The region's coast is at risk from climate change, according to a report being released today. Contributed

Bundy council commits to climate change fight

LOW-LYING areas along Bundaberg's coastline will be under threat from flooding if climate change is ignored.

In a report released by the Climate Council to the NewsMail yesterday, Bundaberg is named along with Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin as areas that are likely to "experience very large increases in the frequency of coastal flooding events” if greenhouse gas emissions are not rapidly reduced.

Coastal flooding has been described as a sleeping giant by the Climate Council, which said sea levels had already risen and continued to rise due to climate change.

Aside from coastal flooding, the report released publicly today also found parts of Australia were at risk from bushfires and extreme heatwaves due to worsening climate impacts.

Bundaberg Regional Council is one of only three councils in Queensland to participate in the Climate Council's Cities Power Partnership program, which aims to transform the future of Australia's energy output.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the council was already heavily engaged in using renewable energy and curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and it made excellent sense to partner with the fledgling national program.

Cr Dempsey said one of the areas the council had implemented emission reductions was at the waste facilities where gas flaring converts harmful methane gases into less environmentally damaging carbon dioxide.

These measures have reduced Bundaberg's carbon footprint and cut council power costs, saving more than $1.3 million in the past 18 months.

"The broader use of energy-saving initiatives has extended to a range of installations such as the use of timers on lights, the switch to LED street lights and more efficient air-conditioning units,” Cr Dempsey said.

"Over the past 18 months council has invested around $2 million in renewable energy and it has now become practice for designs associated with council infrastructure to utilise solar where practical.”

Climate Council chief councillor Professor Tim Flannery said the Cities Power Partnership had the potential to transform Australia's energy future from the ground up.

"We have 35 councils, who together represent more than three million Australians living in hundreds of towns and cities of all shapes and sizes across the country,” he said.

"Each council ... is ready to get on with the job of tackling climate change.”

Prof Flannery said transforming the way cities used and generated energy alone had the potential to deliver 70% of the total emissions reductions needed.

By being in the partnership, he said the council would be at the forefront of preventing situations like coastal flooding.

The other Queensland councils in the partnership at Noosa and Port Douglas.

ENERGY SAVERS

Bundaberg Regional Council's energy-efficient initiatives include:

  • Planned installation of a commercial-scale battery storage system (200kW) combined with a 100kW solar system at the newly constructed Bundaberg Multiplex.
  • Installation of gas flaring systems at two landfills. As of April this year, they have processed a combined 11,537,660 cubic meters of landfill gas - the equivalent of 18,506 passenger vehicles driven for one year.
  • Collaboration with GreenFleet to plant 90,000 trees on 90ha of land in the Barolin Nature Reserve.
  • Installation of charging ports for the advent of electric vehicles.


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