Climate Change

Kāpiti Coast District Council wins Excellence in Climate Action award

Kapiti Coast District Council reps Claire Rewi and Tania Parata collect .._ (002).jpg

Innovative work by the Kāpiti Coast District Council to reduce its emissions by 76% over the last 10 years has been recognised in the 2019 Enviro-Mark Solutions Awards.

The Awards are a biennial celebration of businesses certified under the CEMARS and carboNZero programmes that have shown exceptional leadership in climate change mitigation and environmental action.

This morning, the Council took out the Excellence in Climate Action (medium organisation) category at the Enviro-Mark Solutions Awards breakfast in Auckland.

This isn’t the first time the Council has been recognised by Enviro-Mark Solutions for managing its carbon footprint. In 2017, it received the Overall Award for Outstanding Performance in Carbon Management and in 2018, was confirmed as the leading certified CO2 equivalent emission reducer in the CEMARS programme.

“This award is fantastic recognition of our commitment and perseverance in reducing our emissions,” says Sean Mallon, Group Manager Infrastructure Services.

“As a coastal district, climate change is a particularly significant challenge for our communities and for us, this means committing to tangible actions now that contribute to the safety and wellbeing of current and future generations.

“Simple changes can have big impacts. A great example of this was converting 4,700 of the district’s 4,786 sodium vapour street lamps to new white light-emitting diode (LED) lights. This initiative alone avoids 1.05 million kWh of electricity use each year at a projected saving of around $130,000.

“We’ve also focused on supporting the wider community in reducing emissions through a range of collaborative projects including the installation of EV Fast Charging Stations around the district and supporting a community solar farm project at the Ōtaki Wastewater Treatment Plant that, when completed, will harvest energy from the sun to power the wastewater treatment process.”

In May 2019, the Council declared a climate change emergency in Kāpiti and committed to pursuing the goal of carbon neutrality by 2025.

“Carbon neutrality is an ambitious target but we have already proven that, by taking an active leadership role, we can achieve big things. We will continue to implement initiatives and look for innovative ways to keep reducing emissions as part of our ongoing commitment to the Kāpiti Coast community,” says Mr Mallon.

To read more about the Enviro-Mark Solutions Awards, visit https://www.enviro-mark.com/news-and-events/news/inspiring-action/e-ms-awards-2019

-KCDC

Responding to climate change and sea level rise a priority for Council

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The Kāpiti Coast District Council is gearing up to have a community conversation about what it might need to do to help Kāpiti Coast communities thrive in the face of climate change and coastal erosion or sea level rise. 

Mayor K Gurunathan says the impacts of climate change are significant and we can no longer afford to sit on our hands. 

“As a coastal community with more than 1,800 properties, not to mention businesses and public infrastructure, potentially affected along our 42 kilometres of coastline, we know we need to take action. 

“At the heart of this is a conversation with our iwi partners, affected and interested parties, and our community about how we want to adapt as our coastline changes over time. 

“We’ve studied the Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy, a community-led coastal adaption programme which has worked well in the Hawkes Bay, and we think there are elements of this approach that could be applied to a community-led conversation in Kāpiti and across the wider Wellington region. 

“There’s a lot of ground to cover and we know people will have mixed views about how, when and what actions might be needed but we’re committed to starting a substantial, careful and respectful community conversation about how we respond, as a community, to coastal challenges over the next 12 to 18 months.”

The Mayor says the Greater Wellington Regional Council has indicated that they would like to be part of this conversation. 

“It makes sense to join forces and share resources where we can, as Greater Wellington, as our regional consenting authority, has a vested interest in our environment and providing an effective response to climate change.”

Working towards carbon neutrality by 2025

Kāpiti Coast District Councillors agreed yesterday to reaffirm the Council’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, after considering some of the potential ways it could get there. 

Deputy Mayor Janet Holborow says reducing emissions and becoming carbon neutral is part of the Council’s response to climate change.   

“Having declared a Climate Change emergency this concrete goal is a real opportunity to identify practical steps we can take as an organisation and as a role model in our community to be environmentally responsible. 

“The Council has already significantly reduced its carbon emissions by implementing changes to how it manages the treatment of wastewater and the types of fuel it uses,” said the Deputy Mayor. 

“Further investigation is needed to identify what additional steps we need to take. This includes looking at options such as joining a carbon neutral certification scheme, replacing some of the Council’s fleet vehicles and planting trees to further reduce and offset carbon emissions.” 

The goal of carbon neutrality relates to the net carbon emissions produced by Council’s activities.  Net carbon emissions refer to the total amount of carbon emitted minus any offsets.  To achieve the goal of carbon neutrality, Council will need to offset all of its unavoidable carbon emissions, so that its net emissions amount to zero.

Group Manager Corporate Services Mark de Haast says further investigation is needed to inform the development of a plan for the Council to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

“The plan will need to identify feasible initiatives and any additional resource requirements for Councillors and the community to consider as part of the 2021-41 long term plan process,” he said.

-KCDC

Greater Wellington Regional Council must declare a Climate Change Emergency

Photo by  Agustín Lautaro  on  Unsplash

Photo by Agustín Lautaro on Unsplash

Media release by Mayor K Gurunathan Wednesday 12th June 2019 

Greater Wellington Regional Council must declare a Climate Change Emergency given their release of a new report predicting significant sea level rise and storm surge impacts on the region's coastal residential and commercial properties. 

On Monday morning GW's Facebook posted an alert for the public to view its report "Sea level rise and storm surge modelling" published on its council website. Given the significant impacts predicted by this modelling it will be remiss of GW if it does not declare a Climate Change Emergency. 

The public alert comes as a surprise as the regional mayors had not been briefed and Kapiti had made it clear that KCDC councillors had to be briefed first plus we had requirements to brief two of our coastal interest groups early. 

Now that GW has made it public, it has a responsibility to underpin the dire predictions of the modelling by making a declaration of Climate Change Emergency. And immediately activate its responsibility to fund its share of the community-led coastal adaptation process. We have already made a submission to GW's Annual Plan for this funding and look forward to GW supporting our vulnerable coastal communities. GW is the key consenting authority for coastal defensive structures. 

Kāpiti Coast District Council, which is facing significant climate change related coastal erosion, inundation and inland flooding, has already declared a Climate Change Emergency on 23 May. We have also committed the organisation to be Carbon Neutral by 2025. 

I look forward to a positive response from GW chair Chris Laidlaw and his councillors.

-KCDC

Kāpiti Coast District Council sets carbon zero target

The Kāpiti Coast District Council is set to become carbon zero by 2025 following a unanimous vote at yesterday’s Council meeting.  

Mayor K Gurunathan says the commitment to reduce the Council’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero comes on top of the Council declaring a climate change emergency and supports the three year focus of the Toitū Kāpiti Long term plan 2018-38 to provide an effective response to climate change.

“Now is the time to act. Climate change is one of the key environmental, social and economic challenges facing our nation and we can no longer sit on our hands,” he said.

“Setting a target is the first step to improving the Council’s environmental resilience and sustainability and I urge the Greater Wellington Regional Council, who play a significant role in our district, to follow suit.”

The motion that will see the Council become carbon zero by 2025 was moved by Councillor John Howson and seconded by Deputy Mayor Janet Holborow.

Councillor Howson says he’s delighted to have been able to successfully argue the case for the Council to be carbon neutral by 2025. 

In making the case for change, Councillor Howson said: “We owe it to our community, and future generations, to be leaders in addressing the challengers of the climate crisis.” 

“To those who say that it's futile, that anything we do is just a drop in the ocean, it's your ocean and it'll be coming to your backyard soon.

“The science is incontrovertible. Anyone around this table who doubts the seriousness of the crisis, you're at the wrong council table,” Mr Howson said.

The next step for the Council will be to assess its existing Emission Management and Reduction Plan and to look at, and cost, what additional measures it needs to put in place to reduce its carbon footprint.

-KCDC