Inner West Council Dumps All Fossil Fuel Investments

Fossil fuel divestment - Sydne

New South Wales’ Inner West Council announced yesterday it is the first council in the state to be totally divested from fossil fuels.

Inner West is a local government area in inner western Sydney. The LGA’s population is more than 182,000 and its suburbs include Balmain, Leichhardt, Rozelle, Marrickville and Enmore.

In late 2017, Council resolved to become fully invested in non-fossil fuel funds. At that point in time, Council held $200 million in its investments portfolio and set an interim goal of having a 70 per cent non-fossil fuel investment portfolio by 30 June 2018.

“Being the first Council to become 100[%] divested from fossil fuels is a significant step forward in achieving Council’s renewable energy goals,” said Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne. “Transferring all of our investments into non-fossil fuel funds is a moral act but also a financially prudent one. We join a long list of organisations around the world that are making this environmental statement.”

According to GoFossilFree, 1070 institutions around the world have committed to divesting from fossil fuels to varying degrees (full commitments, partial commitments, and divestments from coal and tar sands) – and the number will continue to grow.

Inner West Council’s Solar Energy Efforts

As well as putting its money where its mouth is in terms of investments, Inner West Council has set a target of being 100% carbon neutral by 2023 and attaining 100% renewables to power its operations by 2025. To help it achieve these goals, Council will continue to install solar panels on its buildings where appropriate. Its latest installation is a 15kW solar array on Petersham Town Hall, which was announced on Monday. The Petersham Town Hall installation brings the number of buildings in Council’s portfolio with solar panels installed to more than 30.

Earlier this year, Inner West Council signed a new power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply approximately 25% of its electricity needs from Moree Solar Farm in northern NSW; a 56MW clean power station situated around 10km south of Moree.

Council is also a big supporter of home solar in its area, offering educational resources and advice workshops for residents and local businesses.

“By completely divesting from fossil fuels, becoming carbon neutral and showing how rooftop solar can be expanded across apartment buildings, factories, office blocks and Council buildings we can take urban environmentalism to a new level,” said Mayor Byrne.

Other initiatives implemented helping towards carbon-neutrality (and further cutting electricity costs) is a fast-tracked program to change street lighting in the local government area to energy efficient LED lighting.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Geoff Miell says

    First, a trickle, then a stream, followed by a torrent, and then a flood.

    On a similar note, last week, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a gathering of politicians and business people in Austria that pollution should be taxed, and subsidies for oil, gas and coal should be ended. He said in remarks delivered at a Vienna conference on climate change:

    “Many people still think that to give fossil fuel subsidies is a way to improve living conditions of people. There is nothing more wrong than that. What we are doing is using taxpayers’ money – which means our money – to boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals. In one word – to destroy the world.”
    See: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-climatechange-energy/fossil-fuel-subsidies-are-wrecking-the-world-says-u-n-chief-idUSKCN1SY1XT

    But it seems humanity needs to get its act together quickly.

    Published last week by think-tank Breakthrough was a policy paper by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop titled “Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach”. The Foreword is written by Retired Admiral Chris Barrie, who was Chief of the Australian Defence Force from 1998 to 2002.
    See: http://www.climatecodered.org/2019/05/can-we-think-in-new-ways-about.html

    The policy paper Overview (p4) says:

    “● Analysis of climate-related security threats depends significantly on understanding the strengths and limitations of climate science
    projections. Much scientific knowledge produced for climate policy-making is conservative and reticent.
    ● Climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilisation. A new approach to climate-related security
    risk-management is thus required, giving particular attention to the high-end and difficult-to-quantify “fat-tail” possibilities.
    ● This may be most effectively explored by scenario analysis. A 2050 scenario is outlined in which accelerating climate- change impacts pose large negative consequences to humanity which might not be undone for centuries.
    ● To reduce such risks and to sustain human civilisation, it is essential to build a zero-emissions industrial system very quickly. This requires the global mobilisation of resources on an emergency basis, akin to a wartime level of
    response.”

    More governments (local, state and federal) need to be doing more to transition rapidly away from fossil fuel dependency.

    The policy paper outlines a scenario where human-caused greenhouse emissions do not peak until 2030, and we may experience by 2050 (p10):

    “This scenario provides a glimpse into a world of “outright chaos” on a path to the end of human civilisation and modern society as we have known it, in
    which the challenges to global security are simply overwhelming and political panic becomes the norm.”

    We ignore these warnings at our peril. There are solutions available – all that is lacking is political will. Failure is not an option.
    See: http://energywatchgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/EWG_LUT_100RE_All_Sectors_Global_Report_2019.pdf

  2. Des Scahill says

    An ABC news item found here:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-05/adani-doing-illegal-work-at-mine-group-claims-footage-shows/11180620

    reports that apparently Adani haven’t waited for the necessary approvals and instead pressed ahead with unapproved site work “included the clearing of the potential habitat of an endangered bird to create new drill pads and access tracks.”

    Adani deny the allegations.

    Of further interest is that the US military are taking ‘climate change’ seriously.
    and busily taking steps to mitigate its effects on their various military bases through-out the South Pacific.

    The article headline reads: “The Pentagon is defying Donald Trump to protect its bases from climate change”

    and you can read the full article here:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-05/how-the-pentagon-is-adapting-to-climate-change-in-the-trump-era/11089134

    Of course, the Pentagon aren’t using the words ‘climate change’ because that would upset some White House residents and staff, and instead refer to it by words such as –
    “adapting to catastrophic weather or sea level rise…”

    Apparently “over half of the military’s bases worldwide would suffer from climate change-related weather extremes, such as drought, flooding and high winds. ” AND within that:”two-thirds of installations on the US continent are vulnerable to flooding, over a half are vulnerable to drought, and half are vulnerable to wildfires.”

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