Council surveys community views on district target for reducing emissions
Kāpiti Coast District Council is looking at whether our district should set a districtwide emissions reduction target, as some other councils have done.
Council sustainability and resilience manager Nienke Itjeshorst said the community indicated in the Long-term Plan consultation they want Council to do more on climate change.
“Councillors now want to look at whether it’s useful for us to set a districtwide target for cutting carbon emissions.
“Targets can be challenging, but they provide focus and help keep up the momentum,” Ms Itjeshorst said.
“Central government has set the overall direction of travel with a national target of net zero by 2050,” Ms Itjeshorst said.
“Targets support mitigation, which is about minimising emissions and even removing emissions from the atmosphere. ‘Adaptation’ is where we take action to tackle or adjust to the negative impacts of climate change,” Ms Itjeshorst said. “When your backyard floods we have to take action to adapt. Mitigation prevents or reduces global warming, so we prevent or reduce flooding in the first place.
We’re checking in with our community on whether there’s an appetite for taking the individual and collective actions needed to meet a districtwide emissions reduction target, she said.
“If every home and every business stepped up their efforts to reduce energy use and waste, used public transport or switched from taking the car everywhere to walking and cycling, it would go a long way towards meeting a districtwide target,” Ms Itjeshorst said.
“Council is limited in what it can do on its own – a districtwide target requires all of us, from households to businesses and industry, to work together towards shifting our district to a low-carbon future and reduce our district’s carbon footprint. Council can help by enabling and supporting community action,” she said. Council would continue to contribute to reducing Kāpiti’s overall emissions in a range of ways such as:
- employing land-use planning to create neighbourhoods that support low-carbon living
- building and improving infrastructure for ‘active transport’ like cycle and walkways
- advocating to central and regional government for better public transport and investment to support initiatives like home insulation subsidies
- looking for ways to attract low carbon and sustainable industries to Kāpiti
- providing information, education and grants for community-based initiatives supporting the shift to low-carbon living
Council had been working on reducing its own organisational emissions since 2012 and has made good progress in achieving ambitious targets, she said. This is outlined in a just published stocktake called ‘Climate emergency action: Delivering on our climate commitments’ (see it at kapiticoast.govt.nz/ClimateResponse).
“This survey is not binding, nor is it a formal consultation. It’s simply information to help the new Council decide whether they would support developing a districtwide target. It’s an opportunity to tell us what you think before any decisions are made, so we hope people will take the time to give us their feedback,” she said.
The survey closes at 5pm Monday 19 September 2022. The results will be included in a briefing to a public Council workshop on 27 September, then published on Council’s website, and will be presented to the new Council in early 2023 to decide next steps.