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Our Climate

Our Climate

Climate change is no longer something that is going to happen in the future. It is here and now. The impacts of a changing climate are already being felt across southern Adelaide. Even if we achieve a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, some changes to our climate are already locked in. This means that we also need to prepare and respond to the impacts of a changing climate.

The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2021) Assessment Report makes it clear that:

  • We are on track for between 1.2°C and 1.9°C of warming by 2040
  • We must limit warming to 1.5°C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change
  • There is still time to take action, but the window is closing fast
  • We need to prepare for the climate change that is now locked in

In southern Adelaide, the impacts of climate change include:

  • More frequent, long-running, and intense heatwaves.
  • Less rain in total but more intense storms and flooding.
  • Sea level rise, more coastal erosion, and more extreme storm surges.
  • Changes to growing seasons.
  • More frequent and extreme fire danger days.

Council Climate Action

We recognise that the world is in a state of climate emergency and that all levels of Government have a responsibility to act. On behalf of our coastal community, we have an immediate responsibility to respond to forecast climate change implications.

One of Council's responses to climate change is a commitment to become a carbon-neutral organisation by 2030.

Some of the actions that we have taken include:

  • Installed solar panels on major council buildings.
  • Installed energy-efficient lighting in council buildings.
  • Changed most of our streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs.
  • Purchased an electric vehicle.
  • Installing water-sensitive urban design features such as TreeNet inlets, which redirect stormwater to our street trees, instead of running out into the sea.
  • Increasing our tree canopy.

Responding to and reducing the effects of changing climate requires a whole of government approach. To read Council's response please see the documents below.

Carbon Neutral Plan

Being 'carbon neutral' means our organisational greenhouse gas emissions are balanced by greenhouse gas removals.

To achieve this, we use the principles of best practice emissions reduction, meaning first attempting to reduce the emissions we can control. We then purchase offsets to become carbon neutral.

Our Carbon Neutral Plan prioritises reducing emissions in the following key areas:

  • Purchasing 100% renewable energy.
  • Transitioning our vehicle fleet to zero emissions vehicles by 2030.
  • Completing the transition of our streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs (currently 75% complete).
  • Certifying all our events as carbon neutral from 2024.
  • Continuing to make our buildings more energy-efficient.

We will also work to improve our procurement system to reduce emissions from our suppliers.

We also track our emissions as part of working towards carbon neutrality, to ensure emissions reductions are happening.

Urban Heat

An urban heat island is a hotspot in an urban area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding areas. They occur because the natural land cover has been replaced with dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, roads, etc. absorb and trap heat. This trapped heat then radiates into the surrounding area, including inside living spaces. These hotspots are particularly noticeable if the area does not cool down to comfortable levels at night, important for good health. The impacts of these hotspots include increased energy costs for air conditioning, which also means increased greenhouse gas emissions (unless powered by renewable energy), increased air pollution, and increased heat-related illnesses and mortality.

Climate change is increasing average temperatures by 1°C to 3°C in large cities, compared with average rural temperatures. Temperatures above 28°C contribute to poor health.

Therefore, there is a need to implement urban cooling strategies to make our city a welcoming and healthy place to live and visit. These include the use of more vegetation and green spaces, including street trees, providing shade structures, and using heat-reflective building materials.

In 2018, we collaborated with the State Government and 15 other metropolitan councils on a major project to map Adelaide's metropolitan urban heat and tree canopy. The results are publicly available on a State Government Urban Heat and Tree Mapping Viewer (see link below).

Community Climate Action

There are many actions that individuals, households and businesses can take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Here is some information about a few.

Create a healthier future by upgrading to energy-efficient electrical appliances and signing up for renewable electricity for your home. Council has a few rebates to help with this transition to a healthier, cheaper form of energy. Check out our Green Living rebates page to find out more.
To find out if there are applicable State or Commonwealth Government incentives, visit the Commonwealth 'Rebates and assistance' webpage listed below.

If you want to make sure you get credible renewable energy use the Greenpeace Green Electricity Guide - simply choose SA as your state. Find the guide at the link below.

The South Australian Government currently has a subsidy available for private individuals to purchase electric cars. This includes a $3,000 subsidy and a 3-year registration exemption on eligible new battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The RAA is also currently rolling out a major program to install more than 530 charging points set to be installed across the state by the end of 2023.

Find out more about the subsidies in the link below.

You could reduce your energy bills, help keep your neighbourhood cool, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, just by changing the colour of your roof. Our hot summers combined with increasing average temperatures from climate change mean that cool, light-coloured, heat-reflective roofs are estimated to reflect up to 70% more of the summer heat than a dark roof, which only reflects about 20%. Having a heat-reflective roof can help the roof to stay more than 28°C cooler than conventional materials during a heatwave.

A cool roof can be installed on any building, either retrofit or building a new home or commercial building. Some cool roof elements are built into the actual roofing materials prior to installation and some are applied after installation. Both methods are effective at creating a cool roof.

The following roof types are suitable for heat-reflective paint technology:

  • corrugated iron / Colourbond©/ Zincalume© (but don’t install Zincalume without a coating otherwise it gets very hot)
  • concrete
  • bitumen
  • tiles
  • slate

Specialist paints used for cool roofs have the technology to maximise heat reflection. Not all cool roof products are light-coloured and many use darker pigments that still have high heat reflectivity. This is ideal if you want to apply a cool roof coating to a heritage building, where a light-coloured roof would be inappropriate. Talk to a paint or roof specialist.

We provide a rebate to our residents, via our Green Living Rebates program program, if you are interested in changing your roof to be more heat-reflective.

If you are interested in purchasing solar panels, there is currently an incentive to help with up-front costs, called the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. There are a range of eligibility requirements but may be used for solar panels, wind turbines, solar water heaters and air source heat pumps. Find out more at the link below.

The award-winning Resilient South climate partnership is a formal collaboration between the cities of Holdfast Bay, Marion, Mitcham, Onkaparinga, and the State Government. It is about what we can do across the southern Adelaide region to make sure our businesses, communities, and environments can tackle the challenges of climate change.

Changes in our climate, such as higher temperatures, declining rainfall, and rising sea levels, require active risk management. The Resilient South project also seeks to harness opportunities presented by these changes so that the region continues to thrive and prosper.

Having implemented its first Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the whole region, Resilient South is currently working to develop a second Regional Climate Action Plan. Find out more about Resilient South on their website.

We support our community to take action on climate-friendly and sustainable living in several ways.

Green Living Workshops

Our Green Living workshops are held throughout the year and are very popular. They provide information on a range of ways to live more lightly on the earth and be climate-friendly in your home. Look out for these in our What's On calendar.

Green Living Subsidies

We provide subsidies for our residents on various items for climate-friendly and sustainable living. Find more information on our Green Living rebates page.

Greening Our Community Grants

Each year we provide grants to non-profit groups and schools for a wide range of climate and sustainability projects.

Find out more on our Community Grants page.

Weekly FOGO

We are the first council in South Australia to provide a weekly green bin (FOGO) pick-up service across the entire council area. There are many environmental benefits to this weekly service, including reducing community greenhouse gas emissions.

Holdfast Habitat Heroes

Our nature volunteers work every week to help our native plants and natural ecosystems thrive and adapt to climate change. The volunteers undertake a range of work including planting, weeding, and water. If you are interested in joining our volunteering program click here