Fellow Thames Coromandel blogger Bill Barclay has commented on the timid climate action taken by central government and the difficulty of getting progress on the climate crisis at a regional level. This prompted me to consider what has been achieved by the Waikato Regional Council Climate Action Committee in the past 12 months.
For the first time the Waikato Regional Council now has a Climate Action standing committee which has made the following climate action gains –
- now on my prompting, all reports presented by staff to WRC meetings must address climate adaptation and mitigation impacts – , and see also
- WRC has agreed to significantly increase its emission reduction target for its own emissions by 70% by 2030
- already WRC emissions have fallen 35% over 2016 – 2017 levels –
- WRC has produced a comprehensive emissions profile of its own emissions and each territorial authority within the Waikato region –
- WRC has approved a definitive Climate Roadmap setting out the nine pathways for climate adaptation and emission reductions programs. –
- work is underway to start decarbonising WRC’s own fleet and public transport vehicles, and a major program of work will commence in 2021 to assist farmers to develop farm environment plans to improve environmental outcomes/water quality and reduce on-farm emissions
- expert WRC staff are collaborating with Hauraki District Council’s Kaiaua sea level rise project and with Thames-Coromandel District Council’s Shoreline Management Plan project
- WRC offers discounts to staff to purchase an E-bike
On my initiative, the Waikato Plan Leadership Committee which has membership from most territorial authorities and other stakeholders in Waikato will soon produce an advisory report to assist the uptake of electric vehicles and the provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the region. –
I have spoken with all of the community boards in Thames-Coromandel and with Hauraki District Council about public transport options . Coromandel Community Board has earmarked funds for a daily return public transport bus to Thames using the Thames Connector vehicle. Whitianga is actively considering a Thames Connector like service in the township, and other townships have public transport options under consideration.
Other initiatives I have promoted and will be considered in the WRC Long Term Plan early next year include-
- a “sustainable Homes” program where ratepayers can opt in to a targeted rate. WRC would then provide loan funds at very low interest to householders to insulate and heat their homes, switch to renewable energy, install EV charging infrastructure, provide water storage, upgrade septic tanks etc. There is no cost to the general ratepayer as it is self funding
- installing solar panels on WRC’s Paeroa office roof