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Capital back-pedals on clean, green goal

Mar 24th, 2009 | By | Category: Latest News, News

wccmainWELLINGTON City Council’s 2012 deadline for carbon neutrality may be gone this winter, when it makes a final decision in June.

Following an exclusive NewsWire story on the recommendation to remove the target, the council’s strategy and policy committee received the report last week, and is considering the proposal to axe the strict deadline for carbon neutrality and put greater emphasis on the reduction of emissions, says principal advisor Chris Cameron.

“The council committee has agreed to go out to consultation with the recommendation that we remove the 2012 deadline,” says Mr Cameron.

“There is the opportunity for formal input in April, before hearings in May and decisions and finalisation of the [long term council community plan] LTCCP in June.”

The main obstacles to carbon neutrality cited in the report were the annual cost of purchasing carbon credits, and the uncertainty around how voluntary offsets would interact with the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Carbon neutrality has lost the appeal it held two years ago.

The same day the council report was tabled, the National-led Government announced it would cut the previous administration’s goal of having a carbon-neutral public service as one of five measures to slash costs at the Ministry for the Environment.

In July 2007, Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast announced the ambitious 2012 target for carbon neutrality and reduction of emissions by between 50% to 85% by 2050, predicting Wellington would beat London in becoming “the first ‘green capital’ in the world.”

In place of the carbon neutral aspiration that involves the purchasing of carbon credits, the report recommends greater focus be placed on the reduction of emissions through initiatives such healthy homes, which would see insulation retrofitted into the city’s older houses, reducing overall energy use.

In the next six to 12 months, the climate change office hopes to review the council’s action plan to ensure its goals are achievable, and introduce an inventory to measuring current emissions and allow comparisons with future levels of greenhouse gases.

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is a graduate of Whitireia NewsWire. He's a reporter for BusinessWire (yes - he does like the wire theme), where he writes daily stories updating currency movements. And he still spends far too much time reading blogs.
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