Melbourne Becomes World’s Newest Carbon Neutral City

Being an environmentalist in the U.S. can be hard. Despite damning evidence of human-accelerated climate change, our government continues to fund energy and technologies that harm, rather than help. Every once in a while it’s nice to know not all countries are this stubborn.

The city of Melbourne, Australia, has declared itself a carbon neutral metropolis after being certified by the Australian Government’s independent carbon offsetting authority Low Carbon Australia. City officials say the certification highlights the hard work being put in to reach the goal of Zero Net Emissions by 2020.

melbourne carbon neutral

Image via eguidetravel/Flickr

Taking an entire city from emitter to carbon neutral in a decade is no easy feat. In order to achieve its goal of Zero Net Emissions by 2020, the City of Melbourne mounted a long-term campaign to change the way it uses energy by creating multiple environmental clean-up initiatives.

We’re already one of the world’s most livable cities, our challenge now is to ensure we are one of the world’s most sustainable cities,” said Environment Portfolio Chair Councillor Arron Wood. “As part of our work we’re delivering new waste management solutions, upgrading several of our council buildings by installing efficient heating, cooling and water systems and making improvements to Melbourne Town Hall which will result in significant savings in lighting costs.”

The Council is also working with the city’s commercial building owners and high-rise apartment residents to reduce water and energy usage and better manage waste and recycling, and encouraging its residents to take up a lower-carbon lifestyle by extending its bike network and encouraging walking and use of public transport.

Melbourne’s certification was determined by the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS), which provides guidance on genuine voluntary offsets and sets minimum requirements for calculating, auditing and offsetting a carbon footprint to achieve carbon neutrality. Melbourne joins Victoria’s capital city, the City of Sydney, and two other Victorian councils, the City of Yarra and Moreland City Council in its carbon neutral status, according to Government News.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog