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Auckland Council recently unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency in an effort to signal its intention to put climate change at the front and centre of its decision making. “Auckland’s Climate Action Framework” (Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri) has also now been released by the Council as a draft document, inviting submissions from the public by Friday 9 August.

Auckland’s regional emissions are rising, and if the current trend continues, it is predicted that emissions will increase by 27 percent by 2050. The draft Framework is in line with the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill (ZCAB) which is New Zealand’s primary framework for climate change action and aims to contribute to the global effort to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The draft Framework is very high level at this stage and does not contain measurable targets, methods, or a budget. The final framework is expected to be released in early 2020 and should include these key details, including the need to link in with Auckland Council’s next 10 year budget 2021 to 2031.

The purpose of the draft Framework is to identify how Auckland’s systems need to change through three broad phases, with the ultimate goal of emissions reduction and climate resilience:

  • Transition phase (2019 to 2023) where urgent actions will be in place, and longer term actions will be piloted;
  • Acceleration phase  (2023 to 2030) where the actions arising from the key moves will be rolled out; and
  • Transformation phase (2030 to 2050) where there will be a system change.  

The draft Framework will cover the period from 2019 to 2050, and contains both short term and long term actions, which have been split into 11 “key moves”. The following key moves will be of particular interest to businesses:

Key Move 2 - Make development infrastructure climate-compatible:
This broad and far reaching goal includes measures such as accelerating the uptake of sustainable design and construction, building climate resilience and health benefits into transport projects, ensuring new infrastructure is climate change proof and planning for a compact urban form.

Key Move 3 - Shift to decentralised and renewable energy:
This key move looks to phase out fossil fuels and replace them with localised renewable energy options, such as hydrogen, wind and solar power. The focus will be on more efficient and integrated energy generation, storage and management. Larger businesses may have their own renewable power generation source on site or in the local area. Ports of Auckland’s hydrogen production and refueling facility pilot scheme illustrates the types of projects Auckland Council envisages in terms of localised power generation, with the ability to create, store and distribute electricity on site.

Key Move 4 - Transform existing buildings and places:
The draft Framework envisages major retrofits of the current building stock to ensure that buildings are healthy, low impact and multi-functional. The draft Framework notes that the construction industry is not currently geared up to deliver the technologies that will likely be required but that this move will enable economic opportunity for the construction industry, including the development of new skills and jobs. Other ideas include a zero emissions zone in the city centre, favouring public transport, walking, cycling and zero emission vehicles.

Key Move 7 – Enable a just transition to zero carbon, climate resilient economy:
A 'climate innovation’ system will be established which will accelerate the business transition to zero carbon. It is envisaged that this transition will be driven partly by changes in consumer behaviour and greater demand for low carbon goods and services.

The draft Framework sets the scene for how Auckland Council intends to manage climate change issues into the future and will have far reaching effects beyond just those businesses generating high levels of carbon emissions. Submissions are open on the draft Framework until Friday 9 August. Please contact us for further information or any assistance with a submission. Also, remember submissions are due on the ZCAB by Tuesday 16 July. To read more on the ZCAB, please click here.



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