Canberra: Working towards Carbon Neutral City Operations

Leading by example, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Carbon Neutral Government Framework underpins Canberra’s target of becoming carbon neutral in its operations by 2020. Anchored by a goal of sourcing 100% of municipal energy use through renewable sources by 2020, the city is also collecting energy consumption data across government operations; holding heads of agencies accountable for meeting reduction targets; implementing sustainable work travel options, including electric vehicles, bike fleets and workplace public transport cards; and ensuring that sustainability criteria is embedded in procurement, which influences the supply chain. These actions have been implemented across the region’s multiple agencies, in 600 facilities, affecting 20,000 employees.

19% reduction in municipal CO2 emissions since 2013


The plan is already seeing results, as since 2013, 44,770 metric tons of CO2 have been reduced from a baseline of 232,000 metric tons. By 2020, the 100% renewable energy target will have reduced electricity emissions to virtually zero, with total government emissions down by 65%. Remaining emissions sources, such as transport and natural gas, will be addressed through expansion of an electric vehicle fleet, and transitioning away from gas for temperature control in commercial buildings.

The challenge

The ACT Government is responsible for around 5% of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. In an effort to reduce emissions and lead by example, Canberra’s Carbon Neutral Government Framework enables a whole-of-government approach to responding to climate change, focused on achieving zero net government emissions by 2020 and contributing towards the city’s target of zero net emissions by 2050.


2016_ClimateAction_Canberra2The Framework provides government employees with electric municipal vehicles in an effort to reduce the local government’s CO2 emissions.

Economic Savings of approximately $1.3 million per year are generated by investing in energy efficiency across the city under the ACT Carbon Neutral Government Framework.

Environmental Through the 2015-2016 carbon budget trial, the government is on track to achieve a 3.2% reduction in electricity use and a potential 2% reduction in natural gas, despite service growth, compared to the previous year.

Health Through two programs of the Framework, the Healthy Weight Initiative and Transport for Canberra, it is anticipated that 10.5% of commuters will use public transport, 6% will cycle, and 6% will walk to work in 2016.

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