Just one year after Hamilton’s first climate change strategy was adopted, a new report shows more urgency is needed to meet the city’s long-term targets.
Hamilton City Council’s first annual monitoring report on Our Climate Future: Te Pae Tawhiti o Kirikiriroa shows that while key foundation work has been achieved in the past 12 months, much more is needed, faster, if the city wants to reach the ambitious targets it set for itself.
Mayor Paula Southgate said it was a case of needing to lay the foundations before you can build the house.
“Staff have made some groundwork to set us up for success in the coming years. But now we need to up the ante if we want to see real changes in the numbers and build a resilient and climate friendly city.”
The report shows that Council’s own emissions are down 18% since 2018, largely due to its fleet moving to e-vehicles and a shift from natural gas to electricity, however Hamilton has some work to do for the rest of the city to follow suit. The city’s net emissions increased by 6% since 2018, with transport emissions alone also increasing by 6%. However, the per capita emissions remain unchanged at six tones per person, per year.
“This highlights how important our work is to provide better facilities for cycling and public transport and reduce these numbers even faster. But we all have a role to play in considering how we travel and making different choices to help.”
Progress is being made on preparing the city for its future climate. Water use across the city has steadily declined since 2019, down to an average of 305 litres per resident, per day. A goal to increase vegetation cover to 10% is being delivered through the Nature in the City planting programme.
“We’ve seen some scary examples of extreme weather events this year, and the impact that could have on our community. Understanding the risks and what that might mean for Hamilton will help build our resilience. And part of that is funding,” Mayor Southgate said.
Climate Emergency Response Funding for 29 transport projects expected to be delivered in the next 12 months will help reduce transport emissions. Better Off Funding budgeted for 2023/24 will also contribute to making Council more sustainable, including emissions reduction targets, building relationships with community and businesses, and delivering a climate action fund.
“We’re grateful for Government support to progress many of the actions we need to in the next year."
"We're grateful for Government support to progress many of the actions we need to in the next year. We've got some tough decisions coming into the next Long-Term Plan where finances are tight, and we need to balance some of our conflicting priorities. This report has come at the right time to help us feed into the conversations, my colleagues and I will be having in the next couple of months.”