10 November 2011 – The City of Sydney last night officially became the first first council in Australia to achieve formal certification as carbon-neutral, under the National Carbon Offset Standard, introduced by the Australian Government last year.

Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet presented the award to Lord Mayor Clover Moore, on behalf of Low Carbon Australia,
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City had reduced and offset its carbon pollution by 210,000 tonnes since unofficially achieving carbon neutrality in 2008.

“Carbon neutral means the City’s net emissions are zero,” Ms Moore said.

“Carbon emissions by the City’s vehicles, the coal-fired electricity it uses and other emissions sources are reduced by actions such as improving energy efficiency and installing solar panels. Remaining emissions are offset by buying carbon pollution credits from projects such as wind farms.

“We are on track to reach one of the most ambitious emissions reduction targets of any Australian government – 70 per cent by 2030 from 2006 levels.

“We’ve already reduced the City’s 2006 carbon emissions by 6 per cent and, we’re on track to reach our 20 per cent target by 2012.

Ms Moore said the City will cut more emissions with the rollout of energy efficient LED street lighting, a $12 million solar panel project and installation of a low-carbon trigeneration energy network to produce electricity, heating and cooling for buildings.

“Australia’s per person emissions are the highest in the OECD and among the highest in the world,” the Lord Mayor said. “But Sydney is leading the way on reducing carbon pollution.”

Low Carbon Australia CEO Meg McDonald said it was “an important demonstration of leadership, which is backed up by an impressive comprehensive sustainability strategy to reduce their carbon footprint and the additional step to offset emissions”