Climate Change Action

Town of Cottesloe's Action on Climate Change

The Town is taking a proactive approach in dealing with climate change, through both mitigation (reducing our emissions) and adaptation (preparing for the future).
The Town of Cottesloe has previously been involved in carbon reduction programs, such as the ICLEI Cities for Climate Change Protection (CCP). Carbon reduction efforts and activities led to the Town achieving Milestone 5 of CCP in 2004.

Towards Carbon Neutral

Carbon neutrality is achieved when an entity or activity produces zero net greenhouse gas emissions during a particular period. This can apply to a community or an organisation, such as the Town of Cottesloe. Becoming 'carbon neutral' is an ongoing process of both reducing and offsetting emissions.

The Town's Carbon Neutral project is part of an overall approach to reduce Council's impact on the environment. The Town of Cottesloe is following a four step approach to achieve corporate carbon neutrality as soon as practicable:

  • Step 1: Catalogue and prepare an inventory of corporate facilities and activities to measure greenhouse gas emissions

The first step in the Carbon Neutral project involved measuring the Town's baseline carbon footprint from July 2009 to June 2010. Energy and fuel use information was collected to calculate the Town's greenhouse gas emissions during this period. The Town's footprint was 806 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) for the baseline year. The Carbon Inventory Report for the baseline period of 2009/2010 can be downloaded here. The Town has now completed consequent inventories and reports for 2010/11; 2011/12; 2012/132013/14 and 2014/15. These demonstrate a significant reduction in Council related emissions since the baseline year.

  • Step 2: Plan approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the development of a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan

With the help of Greensense, the Town completed Step 2: Plan Emissions Reductions to guide reductions, including setting emission reduction goals. This was an opportunity for the Town to consider innovative solutions to reduce emissions. A number of activities feed into the plan, including an energy audit of our Administration Building to identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency; a review of the waste produced at our offices; a staff survey to determine opportunities and barriers for abatement in the workplace; and a workshop to set emissions reduction targets. The Town of Cottesloe Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan was the result, recommending a number of cost effective abatement actions.

  • Step 3: Switch to energy sources that produce less greenhouse gas emissions

With the Town making a significant effort to mitigate emissions, the next step in the process involved considering alternative enery sources. Council approved the annual purchase of a lump sum of GreenPower . While this doesn't cover our entire energy demand, it does further reduce our total footprint. This in turn makes the final step of the process, offsetting remaining emissions, easier and more affordable.

Additionally, Council approved the installation of a small solar array on the Administration Building roof in 2012 and in early 2013 installed a 15kW system. This will help reduce the Town's emissions related to purchased electricity and reduce costs of powering our office. To read more about installation of the system click here.

  • Step 4: Offset any remaining greenhouse gas emissions

The final step is to 'offset' all remaining emissions. The Town is currently investigating the best offset options for the organisation, so that we can finally say we are a carbon neutral organisation. It is envisaged that Step 4 will be completed by 2015, but the journey doesn't end there. The Town will continue to seek ways to improve the efficiency of our business. We will also turn our attention to community emissions, with the vision of creating a Carbon Neutral Community in the future.

Town of Cottesloe Climate Change Policy

Council has endorsed a new Climate Change Policy in 2011. This document provides a clear position on the issue of human induced climate change, acknowledging the challenge and potential impacts for the Town. This is the first step in incorporating the issue into decision-making, planning and infrastructure provision while protecting the community and relaxed lifestyle of the area

Local Adaptation Plan (LAAP)

Adaptation actions are necessary for the Town to build resilience against the negative impacts and risks from climate change. The Climate Change LAAP priorities local adaptation actions across the Town’s essential business areas. This document was guided by the regional WESROC Climate Change Risk Assessment and Adaptation Report commissioned by members of WESROC.

Vulnerability of Cottesloe's Beaches

In 2008 the Town completed an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities of its foreshore, particularly relating to future climate change scenarios. The study identified a number of gaps in understanding of our coast, such as the presence or absence of underlying rock. Geotechnical investigations identified the location of rocky outcrops which allowed a greater degree of accuracy when predicting the response of the beach. This understanding assists the Town's decision making about adaptation measures and appropriate coastal development. You can access a copy of the report here (please note it is a large document and takes a few minutes to down load).

Furthermore, in 2014 the Town implemented a long-term coastal monitoring project with the aim of building a comprehensive understanding of coastal processes and change. Year one of the project involved installing remote imagery units in two locations to capture a visual catalogue of coastal processes as well as biannual beach profile surveys along the ~4km coastline lying within the Town’s jurisdiction.

An in-depth understanding of the coastline over an extensive timeframe can ultimately inform and assist with future decision making regarding the management and development of the Cottesloe coast and all adjacent land, as well as assist in facilitating improved planning for future coastal protection and adaptation work. The summary report from year one of the project, collecting baseline data, can be viewed here, while the summary report of findings and observations from year two of the project can be viewed here, and year three can be viewed here.

Peak Oil

The Town has formally acknowledged the issue of Peak Oil. Council agreed to address oil dependency as part of the Carbon Neutral Project's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, which was developed during Step 2. A Peak Oil report has been prepared that discusses Peak Oil and the challenges we must overcome to address our dependence on oil for transport, medicine, agriculture and many other essential things. To read the report follow this link.