The Australian climate is changing. The City of Melville is working towards measuring and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to changes in our climate.
Overwhelming scientific evidence exists to show climate change is happening as a result of humans releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are released whenever we burn energy sources like coal or gas - this could be when you're driving your car, using electricity or during the manufacture of the products you buy. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and lock it up so deforestation is another major climate change problem.
We are already seeing changes in our climate, which are set to worsen in the future. For example:
- Increasing temperature
- Rising sea level
- Decreasing rainfall
- More frequent and intense extreme weather events.
It is vital that we work towards cutting out greenhouse gas emissions to limit the extent of climate change but, as some climate change is now inevitable, we also need to ensure we're adapted to expected changes.
How We Are Reducing Emissions
The City of Melville is committed to measuring and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, as well as making sure our community is adapted to the effects of climate change.
Measuring emissions Reducing emissions
The City of Melville has been actively tackling the issues surrounding Climate Change since joining the ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection program in 1999 and completing milestone one that year.
In 2009, the CCP program was defunded and the City signed up to the Planet Footprint Environmental Scorekeeping Service to track our greenhouse gas emissions.
The City of Melville is working to reduce emissions through installation of renewable energy systems on a number of buildings, changing lights to LED as they become due for replacement, centre upgrades, IT rationalisation, and staff education.
The Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre also provides education to the community on alternative energy options and saving energy.
How You Can Reduce Emissions
It's easy to cut your greenhouse gas emissions once you know how!
There are a number of ways to reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions:
- Reduce the amount of energy you use in your home.
- Take your energy-saving behaviours to the workplace and speak to your colleagues about ways they can help.
- Cut back on everyday use of vehicles - if you really need to make that journey try to take public transport, ride a bike or walk.
- Reduce needless travel by using teleconferencing or videoconferencing wherever possible.
- Try to limit air travel as this is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. If you really do need to fly somewhere, most airlines now allow you to pay to offset your emissions.
- Think about where your purchases come from - did they travel a long way to get to you? If so, the transport process would have resulted in significant greenhouse gas emission. It's more sustainable to buy locally produced goods as they don't have to travel so far to get to you. This also keeps local producers in business which is a great bonus!
- Eat less meat - meat production is very energy intensive and results in very high levels of methane (a greenhouse gas) being emitted to the atmosphere.
- Try not to be wasteful - use, reuse, repurpose, upcycle goods wherever possible so that new products don't need to be produced.
- Purchase 'green electricity' that comes from a renewable source e.g. wind, solar, tidal etc.
- Install renewable energy systems at your home / business to decrease the amount of polluting, non-renewable energy you're using.
Remember, small actions help lead to a big solution!
Adapting to Climate Change
Even if we could curb global greenhouse gas emissions today, some level of climate change is likely to occur as a result of historic emissions.
In 2012, the City undertook a major risk assessment exercise to establish climate change risks within the Melville area using various emissions scenarios. The results of this exercise were developed into a 5-year Climate Change Adaptation Plan which commits the City to undertaking a variety of tasks to reduce these risks.
There are many ways that we can ensure that we're adapted to projected changes in the climate.
More frequent and more intense storm events are projected as a result of climate change.
Ensure you have a storm kit available including torches, emergency phone numbers, first aid kit, water etc so that you're fully prepared for storm events.
Make a plan to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours and friends to ensure that they're safe and protected during storms.
Longer, more intense and more frequent heatwaves are already happening and will continue to worsen as a result of climate change.
Heatwaves are a known cause of increased emergency department presentations and hospital admissions in Perth so it's vital that you look after the health of your family and friends during heatwaves.
Think of ways you can adapt your house to the heat e.g. through insulation, blinds, shading etc. Try and limit your exposure to heatwaves by staying inside and ensure that you drink plenty of fluids.
Make a plan to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbour to ensure that they're safe during heatwaves.
Overall annual rainfall is projected to decrease so it's important that we use water efficiently. This could be through purchasing more water-efficient products, being more careful about the ways we use water or by planting native, waterwise plants to reduce the water needs of your verge/garden.
Increased heavy rainfall events are also projected so it's important that you're flood-ready. If you live in a flood-prone area, ensure that you're well equipped to prevent damage to your home and belongings.
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