What is Mitigation?
Mitigation tackles the cause and minimises the possible impacts of climate change.
Let's break it down:
- Understanding our carbon footprint and working to reduce it is the only thing that will slow climate change
- Many Queenslanders are already working hard to plan how to mitigate climate change in each sector. Find out more on the State Government's website.
- Australia is able to mitigate. We are a relatively affluent country with sturdy institutions and a well-educated and healthy population
Carefully planned and effective adaptation measures can limit the impacts of climate change on our communities, our economy and our environment.
The latest report from Snapshot’s regional emissions data shows that our region's major emissions source is electricity consumption, with the majority of this coming from industrial electricity consumption. The community is embracing renewable energy with 22% of residential dwellings having installed solar systems across the Mackay-Whitsunday region in 2017.
Sugar mills are leading the way in utility-scale renewable energy projects in the region. The Mills produce power and heat from the waste residue from sugar production (bagasse) as well as other bioenergy waste material. In 2018 these projects are expected to produce an average of just over 300,000MWh per annum, which is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 57,535 Queensland households. There are many renewable energy projects under development in the region.
Agriculture is the Whitsundays second largest emissions sector followed by automotive transport. Queensland's Transport Strategy states that “The future is electric. Low and Zero Emission Vehicles. Electric Vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) present an opportunity for transport to contribute to emissions reductions and improved air quality.”
The Federal Government is investing heavily in the development of future fuels including Hydrogen. The National Hydrogen Roadmap provides a blueprint for the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia. With advances in technology, and commercial opportunity in the region, there is increasing opportunity for the Whitsundays transport sector to reach carbon neutrality.
Whitsunday Regional Council has a mitigation strategy and is aiming for Council's operations to be carbon neutral by 2050. Coucil is also now a member of the Cities Power Partnership. Here are our pledges:
- Install renewable energy (solar PV and battery storage) on council buildings.
- Power council operations by renewable energy, and set targets to increase the level of renewable power for council operations over time
- Use council resources to support the uptake of renewable energy
- Roll out energy efficient lighting across the municipality.
- Support cycling through provision of adequate cycle lanes, bike parking and end-of-ride facilities.
The Climate Hub is working with community, industry and Councils to identify and realise carbon mitigation outcomes.
Visit our projects page to find out what the Hub is doing to reduce the contribution that our region has on the changing climate.
Understand your carbon footprint and work to reduce it. Visit our page on ‘How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint’ and check out the Carbon Footprint Calculator.
By definition, carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide or other equivalent gases released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation, or community.
Each of the greenhouse gases have different properties, some break down quicker than others while others hang around for a very long time (1,000’s of years!).
Carbon Dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas. It is dissolving in our oceans and causing ocean acidification. Read more about Carbon Dioxide here.
Methane breaks down much quicker than carbon dioxide but is much more potent with a global warming potential of over 80 times that of Carbon Dioxide over 20 years. Read more on methane gases here - it’s an important one!
A carbon offset is an action intended to compensate for the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as a result of industrial or other human activity which can’t (YET!) be avoided. For example, if you’re planning a holiday you can calculate the total emissions of your trip and pay an offset company to reduce emissions elsewhere in the world by the same amount - this makes your trip ‘carbon neutral’.
In Australia, offsetting is voluntary however there is a method to make sure that we all have the accounting right. Australian registered carbon offsets are called Australian Carbon Credit Units or ACCU’s. Visit the Australian Government's website for more information on Australian Carbon Credit Units.
How much does it cost?
Offset schemes vary in terms of cost. Purchasing offsets developed through investment into international projects, such as the conversion of inefficient gas stoves, development of renewable energy projects or protection of forests from logging can vary from $8 - $20 a tonne of CO2 Equivalent gasses. Purchasing offsets from Australian or local projects can be more expensive however they often have lots of co-benefits such as improving reef water quality, engaging with traditional owners and improving biodiversity. Australian offsets range in price from $19 to $35, though a fairly typical fee would be around US$12 for each tonne of CO2 offset. For some offsets projects in Australia see the Carbon Market Institutes project registry.