Livingstone Shire Council recognizes the need to take action on climate change as well as recognize and understand its vulnerabilities associated with climate change based on the best available science. Council is developing and implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation actions which aim to reduce the impact of Council’s operations on climate change and strengthen Council’s and the Livingstone community’s resilience to climate change impacts.
Climate Change is a major global issue in the 21st century. Climate change is a sustained change in climate patterns due to an increase in the earth's temperature, which in turn has been attributed to increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While greenhouse gases in the atmosphere occur naturally, it is generally accepted that anthropogenic (human induced) activity has resulted in the "enhanced greenhouse effect", an increase in greenhouse gas concentration, which is causing significant global warming effects.
There are 6 main greenhouse gases in our atmosphere which include: carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Carbon dioxide is acknowledged as the main contributor to warming while both nitrous oxide and methane have increased in the last century and are influenced heavily by human activities.
According to the Department of Environment and Science (2016), climate projections for Central Queensland will see a number of significant changes. This includes:
- For the near future (2030), the annually averaged warming is projected to be between 0.4 and 1.5°C above the climate of 1986–2005. By 2070, the projected range of warming is 1.0 to 3.8°C, depending on future emissions.
- A substantial decrease in the frequency of frost risk days is projected by the end of the century.
- There is high confidence that fire behaviour will be more extreme.
- Rainfall projections for 2070 show little change or a decrease, particularly in winter and spring. However, the intensity of heavy rainfall events is likely to increase.
- By late this century, under a high emissions scenario, it is likely that eastern parts of the region will experience more time in drought.
- Sea level is projected to rise by 0.8m above present day levels by 2100. Higher sea levels will increase the risks of coastal hazards such as storm tide inundation.
- Sea surface temperature has risen significantly across the globe over recent decades and warming is projected to continue. The ocean will become more acidic due to dissolved carbon dioxide, with acidification proportional to emissions growth.
For further information regarding climate projections for Central Queensland please click here.
Livingstone Shire Council has developed the Low Carbon Livingstone 2030, a strategy to reduce Livingstone Shire Council's current carbon footprint by 30% by the year 2030. Reducing the organisation's carbon footprint can result in:
- cost savings to Council and ultimately its ratepayers;
- enhancement of Council's environmental credentials, including showcasing regional sustainability leadership;
- business improvement within the organisation; and
- provide an effective response to climate change.
The strategy also includes an Action Plan which details the actions Council will undertake over the next ten years to achieve its target. The Action Plan focusses on key areas which are currently high emitters and where there are opportunities for significant reductions. This includes:
- flaring and capturing of landfill gas;
- retrofitting existing lighting with LED or solar lights;
- auditing of plant and equipment fuel use to identify opportunities for alternative fuels, hybrid or electric;
- retrofitting Council buildings and facilities with solar panels and battery units; and
- education and behavioural change through programmes such as Sustainable Livingstone.
The Strategy can be viewed here.
The Queensland Climate Resilient Councils (Q CRC) program is working with Queensland local governments to deliver services and products that will strengthen staff and leadership team skills and capacity to plan for and respond to the challenges and opportunities arising from climate change. The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) and the Department of Environment and Science (DES) established a partnership in 2016 to fund and implement the program. The program is funded to the end of June 2022.
The program provides the following to Councils:
- An understanding of the impacts of climate change on Council’s priorities;
- A governance assessment, which assesses and rates 15 governance indicators against world leading practice standards and provide clear recommendations on how Council can improve.
- Leading practice resources for planning and decision making for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
- Grants made available to pilot the application of the knowledge, skills and resources delivered by the Q CRC program in on- ground activity. The Grants to Councils are for: the development of multi-sectoral climate change strategies, forming of regional climate alliances, and for Great Barrier Reef Islands decarbonisation projects.
Further information on the QCRC Program can be viewed here.
The Cities Power Partnership gives local government the tools, the connections and the momentum to capitalise on the global shift to a clean economy. The Australian Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership is Australia’s largest network of local councils leading the way to a thriving, zero emissions future. There are over 150 councils from across the country participating in the program, representing almost 60 percent of the Australian population.
The Cities Power Partnership provides Livingstone Shire Council and its community with the opportunity to achieve emission reductions and transition towards clean energy by connecting with experts and other local councils to share information and opportunities on projects and technologies to tackle climate change at a local level.
Local councils that join the partnership make five action pledges to tackle climate change.
Livingstone Shire Council has committed to five actions pledges to tackle climate change centred on:
- Install renewable energy (solar PV and battery storage) on council buildings and at Council facilities;
- Rolling out energy efficient street lighting across the municipality;
- Setting shire-wide emissions reduction targets through the Low Carbon Livingstone 2030 Strategy;
- Developing education and behaviour-change programs to support local residents and businesses to tackle climate change through clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport through the Sustainable Livingstone program; and
- Implementing landfill gas methane flaring or capture for electricity generation.
More information on Livingstone Shire Council’s commitment to the Cities Power Partnerships can be viewed here.
Otherwise for more information on the Cities Power Partnerships please click here.
Following a Pilot program undertaken for Great Keppel Island as part of Great Barrier Reef Islands Decarbonisation by the Queensland Government in 2019, a number of recommendations were made to assist in achieving GKI decarbonisation. A number of these recommendations were developed into a viable project suite entitled the Great Keppel Island Decarbonisation Project. Funding provided by the Queensland Government will enable the implementation of this project through to April 2022, providing carbon emission savings at a low investment.
These 3 projects are:
- GKI Resilience Plan - A resilience plan will be a whole-of-island plan highlighting detailed strategies to manage issues previously identified in the pilot project such as goat populations, climate change, water, waste, coastal erosion and natural disaster management for the future.
- Whole-of-Island Composting System - A whole-of -island compost system will be implemented. Residents and businesses will be provided with the opportunity to take part in a movement to collect food scraps and reduce the need for off island waste processing.
- Educational resources - An education campaign will provide an opportunity for businesses, residents, tourists and other stakeholders of GKI to develop their capacity for sustainability. It will involve a range of information sessions, one on one training sessions and tools for energy, water and waste savings.
Council has produced a fact sheet with further information on the decarbonisation project.
If you would like to find out more information regarding climate change, in-depth and easy to understand resources can be found at:
- CSIRO's Climate Change in Australia Website
- The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility’s Coast Adapt website
- QLD Government's Climate Change Risk Management Tool for Households
- If you have short questions about climate science, and just want short, digestible answers, the frequently asked questions section of NASA’s climate change website is a good place to begin.