- Last updated:
- 06 Apr 2020
Sunshine Coast Council recognises climate change as a global issue requiring real and focused action. Governments play an important role by providing leadership and supporting projects that build climate resilience and reduce emissions.
Climate change action
We’re aiming to be a zero-net emissions organisation by 2041. To do this, we’re taking real actions now using an evidence-based approach and the best available science to respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change and support our community.
Council has been on its sustainability journey for many years and has long recognised the challenges and opportunities presented by a changing climate. Areas within our community are still recovering from last year’s unprecedented fires, but council continues looking forward to build the resilience of our region’s natural landscapes and the biodiversity which we all value.
A strategic approach to managing climate change
In 2010, council developed its Climate Change and Peak Oil Strategy, laying the foundation for a number of climate change and sustainability related initiatives, including the recent construction of a utility scale (15MW) Sunshine Coast Solar Farm. Our council is the first local government in Australia to offset its entire electricity consumption across all facilities and operations with energy from a renewable source.
Council is implementing its Environment and Liveability Strategy, which was adopted in 2017. This strategy integrates a number of natural, built and sustainability related themes. It also provides a vision and contemporary approach to delivering a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast in 2041, including taking action on climate change.
Council is also investing in climate change adaptation by developing a Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (Our Resilient Coast. Our Future) to better understand and plan for current and future impacts of coastal hazards (including sea level rise). The strategy will identify innovative management options to make our coastline and communities more resilient.
What council is doing now
Other actions our council is taking to proactively respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change include:
- The Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme incorporates a 0.8m sea level rise factor in relation to the management of flood and coastal hazards under future climate conditions.
- We’re investing in expanding council’s almost 7000ha conservation estate through land acquisitions to increase protection, connectivity and resilience of priority habitat areas. These lands, and areas participating in our Land for Wildlife program, are important parts of our natural environment, some of which were very close to the recent fires.
- We’re providing a range of community programs aimed at sustainable living via our successful Living Smart program and environmental initiatives.
- Council is investing significant resources into risk reduction and disaster prevention planning including development of Queensland’s first Disaster Resilience Plan.
- Council is supporting a thriving Cleantech sector well-known for developing innovative approaches to emissions reduction.
- The Blue Heart Sunshine Coast project, which is a tripartite commitment between Council, the Queensland Government and Unitywater, supports a more sustainable blue carbon future for more than 5,000 hectares of the Maroochy River flood plain.
- Council is leading a nomination for the local government area to become a UNESCO Biosphere. Becoming a biosphere would further enhance the Sunshine Coast’s national and international reputation of outstanding environmental value and scenic amenity, as well as help create niche markets for sustainable products, services, facilities and practices. A UNESCO Biosphere credential will support Council to deliver its clear vision to maintain and enhance our lifestyle and environment for future generations.
- Sunshine Coast Council is a member of The Climate Council and is a Summit Partner for their upcoming 2020 Cities Power Partnership Conference. Sunshine Coast Council will host a pre-conference study tour to showcase Sunshine Coast projects which demonstrate on-the-ground climate action.
- The Sunshine Coast Design book was recently launched. It outlines 10 design principles that clarify what makes good Sunshine Coast design and what is at stake if they are ignored. Designing buildings that are resilient to change and that complement the local climate are a key element of these principles.