The goal

The International Panel on Climate Change has estimated that the earth will warm by 1.5°C somewhere between 2030 and 2050, and warm to a further 2°C by the end of this century.

[IPCC Special Report, United Nations]

The Zero30 Project seeks to immediately address, mitigate and adapt to the challenges of a changing climate within our local community, for the benefit of the Armidale Local Government Area.

According to the Climate Council’s On the Frontline: Climate Change and Rural Communities report, rural and regional communities are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change (On the Frontline: Climate Change and Rural Communities Report, Climate Council).

Key findings from the The Climate Council’s Report were:

1. Rural and regional communities are
disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.

  • Climate change is worsening extreme weather events such as bushfires and drought and rural and regional communities will continue to be disproportionately affected.
  • Many agricultural businesses surveyed have used financial reserves and/or have taken on increased debt in response to extreme weather events.
  • Australia’s agricultural sector is showing signs of decreasing capacity and faltering productivity gains and the resilience of some rural industries is under threat.

2. The systemic disadvantages experienced by rural and regional communities over those in urban areas are likely to worsen if climate change continues unabated.

  • Rural and regional communities have already seen a significant reduction in population that has prompted further losses in services and unemployment. Climate change will further exacerbate these stresses.
  • Strong climate action is required to protect rural and regional communities from the worsening impacts.

3. Rural and regional communities are already adapting to the impacts of climate change but there are limits and costs.

  • Adaptation to cope with a changing climate may be relatively incremental, such as changing sowing and harvesting dates, or switching to new breeds of livestock and new varieties of crops.
  • More substantial adaptation options may involve changing production systems (eg. from cropping to grazing), or relocating to more suitable areas.
  • The more transformational adaptive changes may be risky and expensive, especially for individual farmers.
  • As the climate continues to change, adaptation will become increasingly challenging.

4. While rural and regional communities are on the frontline of climate change impacts, tackling climate change also provides these communities with many opportunities.

  • In Australia, rural areas receive around 30 – 40% of the total investment in renewables, valued at $1-2 billion per year.
  • Renewable energy projects bring jobs and investment into rural and regional communities. Delivering half of our electricity from renewable sources by 2050 would create more than 28,000 jobs.
  • The transition to clean energy will also reduce the health burden of burning coal, which is almost entirely borne by rural and regional areas (e.g. the Hunter and Latrobe valleys).
  • Farmers can build the climate resilience of their farms by adding additional revenue streams, such as by hosting wind turbines and other renewable energy projects. Across Australia, approximately $20.6 million is paid annually in lease payments to farmers and landholders hosting wind turbines.
  • Community funds and additional rate revenue for rural and regional areas from renewable energy can be used to improve public services such as schools and local infrastructure.
  • Renewable energy can reduce electricity costs for rural and remote communities, who traditionally pay much higher prices than their urban counterparts.
  • It also offers independence from the grid with several towns now racing to be the first to operate on 100% renewable energy.

Zero Net emissions for the Armidale Local Government Area by 2030

This predicted warming is mainly due to C0₂ emissions with Australia – the 16th most polluting country in the world, generating 547 million tonnes of C0₂ per year. To limit global warming to 1.5°C of global warming will require considerable measures to be put in place to reduce net C0₂ emissions to zero. Failing to implement these measures will result in a global community locked to a minimum of 1.5°C of global warming in the near to long term future.

What is Climate Active Certification?

Climate Active certification is awarded to businesses and organisations that have credibly reached a state of achieving net zero emissions, otherwise known as carbon neutrality (Climate Active, 2020). This means that the activities associated with running a business or producing a particular product have no net negative impact on the climate.

The Federal Government’s Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard is a voluntary standard to manage greenhouse emissions and achieve carbon neutrality. Climate Active provides best practice guidance on how to measurereduceoffsetreport and audit emissions for organisations; products and services; events; precincts and buildings (Climate Active, 2020).

Project Zero30 will achieve certification for the Armidale Local Government Area by 2030 under Category Five – Precincts (Guidance Process Precincts).

By achieving a certification through this standard and receiving a Climate Active trade mark, our Armidale Local Government Area will be supporting climate action.

Have your say

By 2030, through the Zero30 project, the Armidale LGA will:

Be a net renewable energy exporter and have 50% of its industry and homes exporting solar energy to the grid

Have 50% of its businesses and farms accredited under the national climate action carbon neutral standard

Have 90% of its riparian zones revegetated

Winter air quality levels below the Department of Health’s guidelines

Generate power using biochar power generation technologies

Have planted 1,000,000 trees to offset carbon usage

Be active in the bio-sequestration market

Have 25% of its buildings carbon certified

Be an eco-ag tourism destination

Be a true circular economy

Be a model for carbon transitions and adaptation

Have a green house accounting system and utilise green logistics and transport