Wellington City leading by example on monitoring emissions

11 December 2015

Wellington City Council has achieved accreditation for the Certified Emissions Management and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS).

Mayor receiving accreditation certificate from the Chair of Enviro-Mark Solutions.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, centre left, receives an accreditation certificate from the Chair of Enviro-Mark Solutions, Vicky Taylor.

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Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Council’s detailed monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions will focus resources on further emissions reduction.

“Cities are crucial in the global drive for emissions reduction.

“The Paris COP21 discussions have made climate change highly visible and triggered a strong call for action,” she says. “Cities consume two thirds of global energy and produce 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Some 90 per cent of cities are coastal and vulnerable to the impact of sea level rise.

“Wellington City is already seeing the effect on our southern coastline and a Chief Resilience Officer was employed as part of the Rockefeller foundation 100 Resilient Cities network.

CEMARS is an Enviro-mark Solutions emissions management programme and will provide a sound, science-based, platform for making decisions on emissions reduction,” she says.

Accreditation requires ongoing active management by Council to reduce its emissions across all Wellington City Council operations and Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs).

“We began to measure our emissions 10 years ago.

“Our emissions profile will now be regularly audited and includes all city Council emissions to international certified standards,” she says.

“This is a significant step and puts emissions into a category as important as an accurate balance sheet.

Activities being measured include waste water collection and treatment, storm water management, solid waste management, provision of transportation infrastructure and other services likely to generate greenhouse gas emissions.

Wellington City Climate Change Portfolio leader, Cr David Lee, has welcomed the accreditation and says emissions monitoring is important to the city.

Cr Lee says council has developed a climate change action plan that has already made progress across a number of areas including the launch of the Wellington Smart Buildings Challenge which aims to lower energy consumption in Wellington’s commercial buildings by 10 per cent.

Council can lead transformation by embracing the shift to low carbon activities, and help future proof the city’s economy, Cr Lee says.

Chief Executive of Enviro-Mark Solutions, Dr Ann Smith, says Wellington City had shown leadership by seeking certification.

“Council is showing what can be done and now has the opportunity to inspire and influence suppliers and other organisation’s to reduce their emissions,” she says. “

Wellington City Council has also joined the C40’s international ‘Compact of Mayors’ pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Compact of Mayors is the world’s largest cooperative effort among Mayors and city leaders to reduce emissions, track progress and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says: “Membership of the Compact further reinforces the city’s commitment to reducing emissions.”

A Local Government NZ Declaration on climate change was signed by Mayor Wade-Brown and other Mayors as part of a national commitment by Mayors across New Zealand.