Australia—The City of Melbourne
The city of Melbourne has strived to become one of Australia’s most sustainable cities by creating a comprehensive environmental plan that addresses climate resilience, emissions reduction, livability, and more. The variety of initiatives including community gardens and bike share programs have been well received by residents who cite lifestyle improvements in addition to sustainability as a benefit of the program. This integration and synergy with other aspects of daily life is crucial to the success of any sustainability or climate initiative. With a problem so looming, it can be overwhelming for citizens to integrate addressing climate change into their already busy lives. Melbourne’s success comes in part from recognizing this and providing change that is easy for its citizens to adopt, which in turn will increase their stake and support for other less tangible initiatives.
This human-centric approach allows for more involvement from citizens and creates a more comprehensive plan for reaching Australia’s Paris Agreement emissions reduction pledge. By allowing cities to address the needs of the community in a way that also reduces environmental impact, they are creating a system that can be sustained long term.
Even prior to the signing of the Paris Agreement, Melbourne had been developing an emissions reduction plan for the city. The city has a self-imposed goal to have Net Zero Emissions by 2020 and has written a plan to achieve this goal. Because this plan was designed on the city-scale, it allows for flexibility and customization that is better suited for the needs of the citizens, which can decrease opposition some may feel to an outside plan such as the Paris Agreement. Designing policies with the people they affect at all scales is critical to success, sustainability, and scalability of emissions reductions strategies.
These municipal plans could help Australia meet its INDC pledge of an emissions reduction of (including LULUCF) 26–28% below 2005 levels by 2030.Without support from the government at lower levels, the Australian federal government will have a much more difficult time in moving the country forward as a whole.