Illawarra Greens. Social justice, environmental sustainability, peace and non-violence and grassroots democracy.

Call for Wollongong to keep pace with government on net-zero target

Wollongong City Councillor Mithra Cox is calling for council to update its emissions target in line with that of the federal government.

The council has had the net zero by 2050 target for years but Cr Cox believes the council does not hold all policy levers to achieve it.

Cr Cox said when the council adopted the 2050 target, it was a net zero target for 2050 for the whole city with no set midway mark they had to meet to show their progress.

"Since then the government has announced an ambitious interim target on the way to 2050, which is a 43 per cent emissions cut by 2030," she said.

The councillor said the move by the federal government while ambitious, is logical and significant given that it'll ensure that the country's on the right track. "It makes sense for all three levels of government to harmonise and be on the same track to net zero emissions."

Cr Cox believes it will be easier for a country as a whole to be moving at the same pace. "Our community has told us how deeply they care about they environment especially after already feeling the severe impacts of climate change in the form of floods and bushfires," she said. Cr Cox believes the community is sensing the urgency of the situation and urging the government to act quickly. The council, Cr Cox said, is looking to work with other levels of government to achieve the target. "The steelworks is the biggest carbon emitter in Wollongong but we don't have the jurisdiction to change that so all levels of government need to work together to do what's good for the environment," she said. There is also a 80 per cent renewable energy target to be achieved by 2030.

"If we are involved in supporting that target and having all of our electricity use switched to renewables in that time, that would get us a really significant way to achieving that target, even though Council itself is not able to do it alone," she said.

Cr Cox said it is not just the government that needs to work as a whole but the community and businesses.

Story by Zaina A Sayeda at the Illawarra Mercury, 14 October 2022.