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Energy and Climate Change

Georges River Council is committed to working with our community to reduce the chance of climate change and helping residents save energy in the home.

Worldwide scientific opinion indicates the planet's climate is changing due to human activity. The results include increased frequency of droughts, floods and severe storms. Greenhouse gases (water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) are a natural part of the earth’s atmosphere. Since the industrial revolution the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased significantly, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels and land clearing. Rising greenhouse gas emissions trap more heat in the atmosphere causing global warming and climate change – this is known as the enhanced greenhouse effect.

Although the world goes through cycles of warming and cooling, the speed at which it is occurring has increased significantly in the last few decades so that natural systems cannot adapt and cope.

What this means for the Georges River Council area and the Sydney region is that:

  • Sea level is almost certain to rise, projected to rise by 0.4 m by 2050 and 0.9 m by 2100.*
  • Temperatures are almost certain to increase, projected daily minimum and maximums increasing by 1.5-3oC by 2050.*
  • Extreme heat days over 35oC in Sydney will increase from an average of 3.5 days per year in 2013 up to 12 days per year in 2070.^
  • Extreme weather events will increase in frequency and severity such as severe storms, fires, floods and droughts.^
  • Homes, recreational areas and natural reserves will be under increasing risks.^
  • Ecosystems, animals and plant species will be more threatened especially vulnerable species and habitats that are already under risk.^
^Climate Change Impacts in NSW, Australian Government Department of the Environment
*NSW Climate Impact Profile, New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, 2011.

Greenhouse Gas Sources

Georges River Council is committed to helping business, industrial and residential communities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

A major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is the use of energy derived from fossil fuels such as coal, petrol, oil and diesel. Since the majority of our electricity is produced by coal-fired power stations, electricity use is a significant contributor.

The following sectors of society contribute to the generation of greenhouse gas emissions:
  • Residential – through the use of energy for water and room heating and cooling, swimming pool pumps, cooking, lighting and various electrical appliances.
  • Commercial – heating of commercial spaces and water, air-conditioning, lighting, refrigeration, cooking and running a wide variety of other equipment.
  • Industrial – plant and machinery operation, lighting, refrigeration and chemical manufacturing.
  • Transport – vehicle exhaust produces harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide. Reducing emissions from transport has multiple benefits, including reduced traffic congestion, noise and air pollution.
  • Waste services – methane emissions are generated from garbage tips when organic waste decomposes. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas – the effect of just one tonne is equal to the effect of 21 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Further information

Climate Change impacts by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
“Beat the Heat” by the NSW Department of Health

What you can do

Fridge Buyback

Getting rid of your spare old fridge or upright freezer is one of the easiest steps you can take to cut your power bills.

Inefficient second fridges and freezers are one of the home's biggest energy guzzlers, consuming up to three times the energy of new fridges. Running a second fridge adds an average of $300 a year to your power bills and results in greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. Old upright freezers use almost as much power as an old fridge.

Fridge Buyback is a residential energy savings program that actually pays you to reduce your power bills and help save the environment by giving up your old second fridge or upright freezer. The appliances are professionally degassed and the metals recycled.

To participate, your fridge or upright freezer must be a working, second appliance that has been in regular use and is 200 litres (7.06 cubic feet) or more in volume.

Fridges and freezers are collected by professional removalists and a $25 rebate is paid if the removal involves stairs with six steps or less. Collection is free, but no rebate is paid, where collection involves between seven to 20 steps). A fee will apply only if the property has more than 20 steps.

There are regular collection runs every few weeks in most built-up areas.

Phone1800 708 401 to book or see www.fridgebuyback.com.au for more information.

Fridge Buyback is an energy savings program operating under the NSW Government’s Energy Savings Scheme and is supported by Council. The program is independently operated by Next Energy Pty Ltd.

Green Power

Most  Australians don't realise that over 90% of their electricity is generated by burning coal. This creates greenhouse gas pollution that contributes to global warming and climate change.

What is Green Power?

Green Power is a national accreditation program that sets stringent environmental and reporting standards for renewable energy products offered by electricity suppliers to households and businesses across Australia. If you choose a government accredited Green Power product, your energy supplier agrees that the equivalent amount of energy you nominate is produced from renewable sources, avoiding the use of coal-derived power.

Energy suppliers' Green Power products are independently audited so you can be sure your money is being well spent. The Green Power tick is your guarantee that your contributions are helping facilitate the installation of new sustainable energy projects in Australia.

For more information about Green Power  visit www.greenpower.gov.au