To become an eco-city the municipality will need to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases to zero. We will do this by massively reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and then offsetting those that remain. The interim target for this ambitious goal is to reduce the total emissions across the municipality by 59 percent per worker and 35 per cent per resident by 2020 (from 2006 levels).
Future Melbourne 2008


Climate change was identified in these comments as a real and serious threat to life in the city. Some saw the need to develop tough targets so the city can reduce emissions. Suggestions were made on how to achieve outcomes through the reduction of transport and non-transport energy use as well as incentives and disincentive for good and poor performance. A range of mitigations to reduce the impacts of mainly heat were also made. Many of these were based on using the natural environment to reduce heat impacts.

There are overlaps between this Priority and Priorities 5.3. Resource Efficient and 5.4. Adapted to Climate Change.

Summary of ideas (total 144 statements)

Reducing energy use (104 statements)

Reducing energy use was an important topic and many points were made concerning it. This discussion is broken into four parts: targets; green transport; non-transport energy changes; and, incentives and disincentives.


Many people were very positive toward creating ambitious targets for the city. It was considered that targets would create jobs, attract new businesses to the CBD, and also assist in tackling the urgent challenge of climate change. The comment below received a number of conversation comments. These comments stated that society is on an environmental precipice and that the time for action is now, along with promoting the additional health and environmental benefits that will flow from changing practices. A large number of general statements were made, suggesting that the city should aim for being carbon neutral.

MCC Renewable Energy Target for 2030 -- The Federal government’s cut to the national Renewable Energy Target put the handbrake on the growing sector. A Friends of the Earth survey of 15 renewable energy companies based in Melbourne found that overall job numbers in the CBD fell from 556 in 2013 to 507 in 2014—a 9 percent decrease. The City of Melbourne has shown leadership by adopting a Renewable energy Target of 25% by 2018. This policy will stimulate growth in the renewable energy sector. The City of Melbourne has an opportunity to build on this positive step by setting medium terms Renewable Energy Targets for 2025 and 2030. The community would welcome ambitious renewable energy goals that match the level of ambition of great cities such as San Francisco, which is aiming to be entirely renewable energy powered by 2020. Closer to home, Sydney has a 100% renewable energy target by 2030. By committing to ambitious Renewable Energy Targets, the City of Melbourne can create jobs and attract new businesses to the CDB while tackling the urgent challenge of climate change.

One idea outlined success for Federation Square in reaching its targets and asked for information on how the city is doing more generally, with regards to achieving targets.

CARBON NEUTRAL PRECINCTS FOR MELBOURNE -- About a year ago, Melbourne’s Federation Square announced that it had become a carbon neutral precinct This milestone was achieved after years dedicated to a sustainability management plan for key environmental areas including water, waste and energy. The City of Melbourne has set the goal of being carbon neutral by 2020. How are we tracking? Are there other Melbourne precincts, like Federation Square, which have achieved carbon neutrality, or, like the Square, share this ambition? The next Future Melbourne Plan must propose an audit of Melbourne’s other key precincts. Without being exhaustive, these should include the Parliamentary Precinct, the Southbank Arts Precinct, the Yarra and Olympic Park Sporting Complexes, our major transport hubs, our University Precincts and the Parkville Hospital Precinct. We need a race to the top!

Green transport

The discussions in this section made strong requests for Melbourne to turn to using renewable energy sources for transport, predominantly public transport. There was much discussion promoting buses converting from diesel, because of the pollution created, along with the noise. Many comments stated that electric transport was quieter, calmer and didn’t pollute. Several people discussed what is happening in overseas cities and felt that Melbourne needs to catch up. Specific suggestions for electric power were shuttle buses and PTVs 401 service. This was one idea that summed up a number of people’s suggestions.

Green public transport in Melbourne! -- … Melbourne has the real potential to step forward and promote environmentally responsible, low impact modes of transportation, and promote and encourage technology/industry that is the future of alternative energy, and not crude deisel. This would not only set Melbourne apart from other Australian cities, but also bring us inline with the directions that have been recognized as vital for the future and is in fact already adopted by other major cities around the world. Hybrid buses in California also have bike racks fitted on the front of the bus. Commuters just load their bike on before getting on the bus. It's such a great idea and would encourage more healthy, environmentally-friendly modes of traveling.

This conversation comment on an idea warned against biofuel use.

Biofuels are highly problematic to the extent that there isn't a surplus of waste stream biomass available. So industry will target native fuel. Jump straight to EV buses like Gothenburg, Sweden has using new Volvo buses with super capacitors which charge at each stop. China has some cities using similar technology. Super capacitors for fast charing and power density is only going to get better as it's very new.

Other transport energy change suggestions were for solar powered trams, solar powered car battery charging stations, solar bus stops, renewable metro and electric powered garbage trucks.

Non transport energy changes

The discussion on reducing energy (non-transport) was on two main themes; reduced use of non- renewable power and creating buildings that use less energy.

Many people stated that they wanted the use of non-renewable energy to cease, particularly coal. They suggested that the city should move to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. This was one idea that outlined what is desired in this area.

Stop reliance on brown coal. -- Melbourne city should as quickly as possible switch from dirty brown coal electrical generation dependence to that of sustainable renewable solar and wind generation. All businesses and public building and offices should be encouraged to switch as quickly as possible. Either through discounted bulk buys of renewable infrastructure or through purchasing energy from greener providers. Let energy providers know that Melbourne city wants zero nonrenewable electricity generation for it's buildings and businesses by, for example 2020...

The development of carbon neutral or positive buildings was discussed by several people. In particular, people thought that all new buildings should be carbon neutral, through generating their own power via solar. To support this, one suggestion was to have a fixed height of no more than five levels outside the Hoddle grid, to provide certainty in enabling solar development. Others suggested that solar panels should be allowed on heritage buildings. One example of success was held up in the CH2 retrofit, described in this idea.

CH2 retofit (sic) to a zero emissions building -- Melbourne's Council House 2 (CH2) was the first new commercial office building in Australia to meet and exceed the six star rating system administered by the Green Building Council of Australia. With the last two decades seeing an innovation boom in low emissions technology in the built environment, there is an opportunity for the building to become a beacon of emergent technology, policy and culture in cities working towards zero net emissions…

Incentives and disincentives

This discussion was focused on incentives and disincentives to change behaviour. Much of the discussion was on developing buildings to higher environmental standards. This was one approach suggested for The Council to measure and incentivise better building performance.

Link rates to carbon footprint -- City of Melbourne need to take the lead in reducing our carbon footprint. We need more mandatory post completion evaluation of environmental initiatives in buildings and spaces using both building information modelling and precinct information modelling. City of Melbourne could partner with organisations such as CSIRO to analyse the data for their own buildings and spaces in the first instance. This would help create a database and toolkit that would help private commercial and residential building owners to calculate the benefits of environmental initiatives and make smart long term decisions. City of Melbourne should link rates to post occupation carbon footprint to provide additional financial incentives for ratepayers to take action on climate change.

This detailed comment explained how incentives could be used. One conversation comment on this idea was that funding could come from the Sustainable Melbourne Fund.

Melbournes Climate Change Architecture -- …Education and dissemination of information from leading organisations to raise public awareness is a key component, in addition to collaboration and communication between industry, local, state and international agencies. This will be enacted by through legislation and amendments to the planning scheme. Incentives and preference will be provided to progressive, efficient and sustainable developments and retrofitting activities, with enforcement through penalties to non-compliant buildings or organisations following a grace period. It is expected that the City Of Melbourne will have a prominent role and set an example of transformation and integration that will provide a model to other cities and urban environments throughout the world.

A conversation discussed an idea to increase solar panels on heritage buildings. The discussion was around The Council increasing demand through incentives, which could come from Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs) — with recipients paying back investment to The Council through rates.

The City of Melbourne already has data on the types of projects that are economically viable - look at the zero net emissions strategy, on page 14 any project that is below the line should be commercially attractive. The City can pick winners on that cure to support either through a regulatory approach, with carrots, or through voluntary action (more costly and time consuming)

Other suggestions were that cool roofs and walls should be incentivised on new buildings, as well as a suggestion to improve transport performance and air quality through regulation.

Clean air corridors -- Phasing out of polluting diesel and petrol traffic via levies and zero emission traffic zones especially around high density pedestrian areas such as fed square. Raising public awareness on urban air quality - NO2 and PM2.5 (public traffic light displaying AQ real time monitoring in heart of cbd). Bringing in an anti idling policy for all stationary vehicles within city limits. Working towards zero for future traffic fleets - zero deaths, zero emissions, zero health costs. Buy back program for wood heater installations. Levies on wood burning emissions. Melbourne has about 550 of Australia's 3000 air quality related deaths per year (2003 estimate). Half of air quality related emissions are due to wood burners.

A few people suggested disincentives for plastic water bottle use, and more water drinking fountains provided instead.

Mitigations (40 statements )

The majority of this discussion was focused on mitigations to reduce the heat effects of Melbourne’s hot climate, identified in several points made.

The most common form of mitigation was the use of green roofs and walls; this was stated by many people. Some people wanted to make them mandatory on new buildings. Other suggestions for roofs were more solar panels and also food production. This was one relatively short statement that expressed the sentiment contained in many other similar statements.

Cool roofs -- new developments committing to reduce the urban heat island with green walls or roofs or reflective materials.

Some people spoke specifically about the benefits that the natural environment can bring. The need to use native trees to reduce water use was one comment, while others suggested the use of trees for shading and cooling benefits. One comment was to create an airwalk to maximise tree canopy use. One comment focused on making natural spaces for species to adapt to climate change — particularly increased temperatures. There were some general conversations on the following idea, centred around confirming what the approach would be, as well as general support.

Ecosystem Services for future growth -- Creating a planning code and or clause within the built environment/water/planning amendments that ensure that any new application for a public infrastructure project must first be considered with alternative Green Infrastructure amendments that provide Ecosystem Services. This will ensure that new infrastructure projects are approached with eco sensitivity for future climate change adaptive measures

The benefits that success in this area would bring were identified in this comment.

Great idea. This has undending (sic) benefits! Reducing the urban heat island effect, reducing impermeable surfaces which will assist with water management, providing habitat for native birds and wildlife (If the flora is properly selected) and it looks great!Would (sic) love to see this idea implemented!

There were a couple of statements regarding sea level rise, one suggesting to build a sea wall and another suggesting that new buildings be built more than 10m above sea level.