Wellington Scoop

Wellington releases plan to become a zero carbon city

News from Wellington City Council
The Wellington City Council is seeking feedback on Te Atakura – First to Zero: its blueprint for a zero carbon capital city, which was released today.

The blueprint outlines key activities relating to transport, building energy, advocacy and other areas to reduce emissions that cause climate change. It balances activities that reduce emissions, like using electric cars, with others that absorb them, like planting trees, to reach its goal of zero carbon in Wellington city. It also outlines a plan for the Council itself to reach zero carbon.

Mayor Justin Lester says this is the perfect time to be talking about how Wellington can lead the way to a zero carbon future.

“The city is already preparing for a further 80,000 more people to make Wellington their home and the Council’s Planning for Growth consultation will guide where and how the city should grow.

“Te Atakura – First to Zero will help shape the Council’s view of what the city needs to look like in the future. Everything is connected,” says Mayor Lester.

Wellington City Council’s Climate Change Portfolio lead, Councillor David Lee, says the conversation with the public is a chance to hear a range of views on how to move to a zero carbon goal.

“Science is telling us our current low-carbon plan isn’t ambitious enough. We need to do more, and we need to do it faster,” says Councillor Lee.

“If we want to keep temperatures within the climate ‘safe zone’ we need to act more quickly to lower our carbon emissions by about half within 11 years, and to zero as soon as possible.”

The Council’s plan is ambitious and it needs to know it has the support of Wellingtonians to take strong, fast action.

Councillor Lee believes choosing not to act is not an option. A sea level rise of 1.4m could result in $7 billion in property damage, which is about 10% of the city’s property value. It could also compromise a quarter of the rates the Council takes in, making it difficult to fund responses to the challenge.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. The Council’s Sustainability Manager Tom Pettit believes Wellington could benefit significantly by leading initiatives to achieve zero emissions. In addition, more active forms of transport and higher standard homes could save money for Wellingtonians and present an appealing future for other reasons, particularly health benefits.

He believes Wellington can help reduce climate change and that every contribution makes a difference.

“We may feel small, but 80% of the world’s population lives in places with fewer than a million people. It’s small, courageous cities like Wellington that can lead the way to a zero carbon future,” says Tom.

The City Council is asking for your vision of what a zero carbon capital would look like, and how quickly we should address it.

The consultation and feedback form can be found at zerocarboncapital.nz. Feedback closes on Friday 10 May 2019 at 5pm.

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  1. Ms Green, 15. April 2019, 19:34

    The Wellington City Council was directly responsible for canning the trolley buses through not requiring the Cable Car company to retain the wires. So now we inhale fumes and watch our carbon emissions rise. And it is (still?) supporting the airport extension. What do the mayor and councillors really intend to do about reversing our contribution to increasing carbon emissions? A few electric cars will not cut it. Seems like an election ploy to me with no real commitment.

  2. Mike Mellor, 15. April 2019, 20:30

    Ms Green: it was the Regional Council that decided that the trolleybuses would no longer run, and declined to fund upgrades to the substations that their owner, Wellington Electricity, said were essential for them to continue to operate. The Wellington City Council was therefore left with overhead wires that had no power supply and no vehicles to use them, and would cost ratepayer money to maintain. Hence it had no real option other than accept GWRC funding to dismantle the wires.

    So it is not the case that the WCC was responsible (directly or indirectly) for canning the trolleybuses: the responsibility lies solely with GWRC, which made the decision to fund neither trolleybus operation nor substation upgrades. WCC had no part to play in that decision making, public transport funding and operation being entirely over to GWRC.

  3. Ms Green, 15. April 2019, 22:39

    Great respect Mike but the cable car company (a CCTO) of the Wellington City Council had responsibility for the wires…and Wgtn Electricity, owned off shore, was also involved. Both WCC and GRWC (primarily) were responsible by the decisions they made (or failed to make). Regardless they have now gone and we are left with the fumes and noise pollution. The issue now is what is the WCC going to do to demonstrate real action to decrease greenhouse emissions? The announcement that it is going to be the zero carbon capital is just PR spin.

  4. Mark Shanks, 16. April 2019, 9:16

    So right Ms Green, Justin Lester’s fiddle will be working overtime running up to the elections, but he is out of tune and out of time. He and his council have achieved so little. The city is in disarray and even less resilient since his tenure.

  5. CC, 16. April 2019, 13:04

    What do you mean “achieved so little” Mark? We, the ratepayers, have been saddled with massive debts for a Convention Centre, crumbling infrastructure, the initial spend on an arena on a dodgy site and now, the expensive library repair or rebuild. All of that is before the spend on the Town Hall that should have been well under way at a less inflated price. And in all probability, there will now be another spend of over a million dollars on another resource consent process for an extended runway for Infratil. That takes more than a bit of fiddling.

  6. Mike Mellor, 16. April 2019, 16:29

    Ms Green: yes, WCC’s cable car company did own the wires, but GWRC’s decision to stop funding the trolleybus network meant that there was no way power could be supplied to them, no vehicles to use them, and no money to maintain them to stop them falling down. GWRC was prepared to pay for them to be taken down, and WCC really had no choice but to accept that funding.

    Both councils are responsible for the decisions they make, and it was GWRC’s (and GWRC’s alone) decision to scrap the trolleys. That’s where the responsibility lies. What the WCC is going to be able to do about the resultant increases in noise and air pollution is very important, but those are not matters of its making.