Thursday, May 30, 2024

Hamilton climate action going to plan

Hamilton City Council’s 2021/22 Climate Change Action Plan Monitoring Report for February 2022 shows 41 out of 45 actions are still on track, despite challenges from COVID-19, Council said this week.

The on-track actions include transport initiatives, energy efficiency upgrades, behaviour change projects and the development of Council’s long-term Climate Change Strategy.

“There’s a lot of groundwork being done that will help our emissions fall in the years to come” said Councillor Sarah Thomson, Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee.

“But we recognise that we need to do more. Responding to climate change will take a big upfront investment, and we need to work with central government and our other partners to make it happen.”

Council says just four actions require additional resourcing or have had timelines shifted due to changes in COVID-19 protection framework.

The delayed actions include decentralising the air-conditioning in Council’s Municipal Building, and developing Hamilton’s Climate Accord, which is still in the planning phase.

Council has set two goals for operational emissions. The first is to reduce gross emissions by 50% by 2030.

In the five-month period July 2021 to November 2021, there was a 58% reduction in use of natural gas (equivalent to 557 tonnes of carbon dioxide), compared to the same period in 2020.

While this reduction can be partially attributed to the 2021 lockdown, significant reductions were made by changing the peak-demand energy source at the wastewater treatment plant and changing the heating source at Council’s plant nursery, it said.

Council’s second goal is to reduce biogenic methane emissions by 25% by 2030. Biogenic emissions are produced by living organisms, like in processing biological waste and agriculture.

Biogenic methane emissions reductions will mostly come from making changes to Hamilton’s wastewater treatment plant.

Biogas (which is comprised primarily of methane and CO2), is a by-product of the wastewater treatment system, and is currently disposed of via controlled combustion and ‘flared’.

Council has secured funding for a project to use the biogas to create electricity, hydrogen and/or heat, with the work expected to commence by 2024.

This project could help to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions, by reducing the amount of grid electricity the plant needs to function, Council said.

Council is currently working on a Climate Change Strategy, which sets the vision for a low-carbon, resilient Hamilton by 2050. The strategy is expected to go before Council in May.

A final report on the actions from Council’s 2021/2022 Climate Change Action Plan will be delivered in August.

Latest Articles