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Australia Low Carbon Cities Initiative — Research topic short essay Example

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The global climate changes calls for a reduction in carbon emissions. In Australia, it has been proved that some cities will have an increase in temperature by up to 5 degrees Celsius by the year 2070. These changes have been observed to take place globally with varying impacts. In most countries, the effects of climate change have been felt with natural disasters becoming more frequent. Most countries have realized the need to have a low pollution economy, which is capable of protecting the environment. In Australia, the spread of bushfires is an indicator of how climate change can lead to loss of lives and property. Some of the world cities have turned into renewable energy with the aim of reducing the climate change (Garnaut, 2008). In Australia, several cities have taken up the initiative towards low carbon cities. These cities include Fremantle, Sydney, Victoria and Melbourne among others. This essay will analyze low carbon cities initiative in Australia and discuss how it affects the planning for the cities in relation to climate change. The essay will also look at the implementation strategies for the plan.

Reports have shown that Australians are more concerned with the environment. The fact that the issue of climate change has been incorporated into the political agendas has made many of the citizens being more aware. The government has been involved in coming up with plans and policies to tackle carbon emission (Arup, 2008). There are several policies and targets that have been set in regard to climate change. Low pollution future is the main goal for the government with investments being made on clean energy.

Australian government has been at the forefront in coming up with comprehensive policies on environmental protection and addressing climate change. Through realizing that research has the potential to help the country curb climate change, the government has been supporting it through various programs. Some of the research bodies who have been supported by the government have engaged in low carbon future initiative (Arup, 2008). The initiative has been through coming up with plans on how low carbon cities can be achieved in the country. Local governments have been implementing programs to reduce carbon emission (Pillora, 2010). The efforts have been directed in coming up with a framework on low carbon emission cities.

The plan to have a clean energy future for Australia started when the federal government came up with the implementation of a carbon price. In 2011, clean energy agreement was signed which came up with the carbon pricing mechanism. The agreement ensured that Australia was part of reducing carbon pollution and tackling climate change (Pillora, 2010). Other initiatives include cities for climate protection as well as the carbon neutral commitments. The carbon neutral commitments meant that a number of councils in Australia was to ensure that there were zero carbon emissions in all their activities. 14 regional governments in Australia made a commitment to eliminate carbon emissions by 2020 (Arup, 2008). Among the cities under the commitment, Sydney has been able to reduce carbon emission to zero.

The plan towards a low carbon cities aims to have cities that have low carbon emissions. For the building owners, they have been advised to reduce power consumption through the use of modern equipments and to replace the worn out ones. The houses should also utilize green power such as solar and biomass. Over the years, the use of green power has been on the increase in Australia cities. The construction of energy efficient buildings has also been advocated with planning being done based on modern houses with low environment impact (Wilkinson & Reed, 2006). It has been observed that in major towns, offices are the main emitters of carbon dioxide followed by the building space. Offices have the largest area in cities hence are more utilized leading to increased emissions. The cities management has been proposing to conduct regular reviews on carbon emissions in the building spaces as well as offices. Through reviews, it will be possible to carry out carbon reduction measures (Richard & Sara, 2009).

To implement the low carbon cities plan, there have been several measures that have been adopted. Living smart community is one of the measures that have been adopted. This is a program that is aimed at the households to teach them on how to be energy efficient. This has been implemented by cities such as Fremantle. Sustainability program has been included into the schools program. There have also been efforts by cities to make their buildings achieve a rating of 5 stars. The buildings have to be made with considerations that they can reduce the energy use by 25 percent (Freemantle city, 2011). To achieve this, the building power consumption has been addressed, and air conditioning made to be up to standards through upgrading. Advocating carbon reduction in all structures has also been practiced to ensure that the developers are aware of the city’s plan (Wilkinson & Reed, 2006).

Cities have also been giving incentives to developers with sustainable buildings. The incentives include reducing the parking and height requirements for the buildings. The incentives have been targeting the houses which have a green roof or have been able to achieve the five stars rating according to the building standards. In some cities, there are regulations that ensure that houses have a ceiling before sale or lease (Richard & Sara, 2009). Houses have also to attain the set thermal efficiency and energy performance standards. These are efforts that cities have directed in ensuring that there is low carbon emission.

Transport is another sector that low carbon cities have addressed. The strategy looks at how to reduce the carbon emission from fossil fuels used by vehicles. Some of the cities have prioritized bicycle parking in city centers, buildings and bus stops. In some cases, there have been advocacy on street conversion for motor vehicle to bicycle parking. Through advocating the use of bicycles, the carbon emission from vehicles will be reduced. Bicycles also reduce traffic jams hence conserving fuel. The use of low carbon buses, electric trains and electric cars has been advocated in the transport sector (Garnaut, 2008). Those using personal transport has been advised to utilize public means such as trains where possible. This plan aims to reduce carbon emission that comes from vehicles.

Another area that the initiative towards low carbon cities has looked at is waste management. According to Arup, (2008), coming up with an appropriate waste management strategy can help a lot in reducing carbon emission. Waste has been associated with a contribution of about three percent of the carbon emissions in Australia. Methane which comes from decomposing organic matter has a great potential in increasing global warming. The local authority has been mandated to ensure there are appropriate waste collection and disposal. There have been measures to reduce the use of landfills and encourage reusing and recycling. There have also been plans by some cities to utilize low carbon trucks in waste collection. Commercial recycling involves using domestic sized services for waste recycling. Waste education has been empathized to enable the residents in waste management and separation. These efforts are aimed at reducing the emissions from the landfills (Richard & Sara, 2009).

Low carbon cities rely on the reduction of fossil fuels use and utilizing renewable energy. Solar power advocacy in low carbon cities has not only been aimed at carbon reduction but also on saving revenue. Solar have been advocated to be installed in pool heating to replace the gas boilers and also in buildings. In pool heating, solar installations would save up to 720 tons of carbon dioxide. Co-generation is also a project aimed at attaining low carbon cities (Arup, 2008). Most of the cities in Australia have adopted green power. This has been assisted through use of feed in tariffs in both commercial and domestic buildings.

The outcome of low carbon cities initiative in Australia will be cities with energy efficient buildings and zero carbon emissions (Arup, 2008). The environment provided by the low carbon cities will work in enabling healthy lives of the dwellers and environment. This will contribute significantly in the world initiative to reduce carbon emissions and curb global warming. With Sydney have been able to reduce the carbon emission to zero, the efforts towards attaining low carbon cities are possible and achievable. With no effort being taken in large cities such as Melbourne, the carbon emission can rise with 6 percent in the year 2020 as compared to 2005 (Richard & Sara, 2009). This has led to Melbourne being active in ensuring they attain low carbon emission status.

In conclusion, the initiative towards low carbon emission cities will help in curbing global warming. The initiative can only succeed through government and communities efforts. The government has to fund research and come up with policies. The Australian government has been able to achieve this. The strategies that will help in attaining the target are use of green energy, sustainable buildings, proper waste management, sustainable transport and public education. The outcome is sustainable cities with no carbon emission. This is a great effort towards the world initiative to tackle climate change.


Arup 2008, Zero Net Emissions by 2020, Consultation Draft. Melbourne, 43.

Freemantle city 2011, Low Carbon City Plan, 2011–2015, Freemantle city.

Garnaut, R 2008, The Garnaut Climate Change Review. Final Report. Cambridge University Press.

Pillora, S 2010, Australian Local Government and Climate Change;
Working Paper No1. University of Technology, Sydney.

Richard, R & Sara, W 2009. Moving Towards Low Carbon City: Melbourne, RICS, London, 5-27.

Wilkinson, S & Reed, R 2006, Delivering Sustainability: Improving energy efficiency of the CBD. RICS Education Trust Golden Jubilee Project Final Report, RICS, London.