In the face of growing climate change impacts, South Australia’s key city is moving ahead of both national and state targets to go zero-carbon by 2025.
One of Australia’s major cities, Adelaide has the ambitious goal of becoming a net zero-carbon city by 2025, by revolutionising its transport sector and moving to renewables. This target goes further than the South Australia state’s target to be zero-carbon by 2050, and far out-strips the country’s national commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28% by 2030 (on 2005 levels) under the Paris Agreement.
The city is highly climate vulnerable. It is at risk from heatwaves, extreme hot days, drought and flash floods, posing health risks to the city’s population, particularly vulnerable groups, reduced economic activity and increased costs from air conditioning and cooling.
To combat this, and to boost the city’s response to climate change, Adelaide is collaborating with businesses and developers to boost the transition to a cleaner, greener city. They are providing up to 50% rebates to developers, businesses and community groups that plant street trees, green roofs and invest in green walls and community gardens. This naturally cools the city by reducing the urban heat island effect, while also making Adelaide a healthier, more biodiverse and more enjoyable place to live and work.
A renewable revolution
Adelaide is also using financial incentives to encourage companies and citizens to improve their energy efficiency, boost renewables and cut emissions. The Solar Savers Adelaide program, for example, encourages the uptake of solar PV on home rooftops, providing the up-front funding for installation on low-income and rental homes.
Similarly, the Sustainability Incentives Scheme provides rebates for investment in the installation of water and energy saving systems for both owners and tenants of businesses, homes, schools and community buildings across the city, while the CitySwitch Green Office Program provides funding, information and support for office tenants to reduce energy use. The city is currently seeking private sector investment to expand this scheme to other areas.
With an ambitious aim to run their whole public transport network on renewable energy by 2025, Adelaide plans to upgrade and electrify another of the city’s major train lines and is seeking private sector investment for electric vehicle charging stations to boost electric vehicle take-up. With help from the Siemens City Performance Tool the city has identified the opportunity to invest AUD1.4 billion in its public transit and electric vehicle infrastructure over the next decade. This could cut emissions by 31% and create 5,600 new jobs, showing that climate action creates jobs and economic opportunities.