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The City of Yarra’s two Roadmaps to Zero


The Climate Emergency Plan 2020-2024 (CEP) commits the City of Yarra to the aspirational target of net zero CO2-e emissions across the entire municipality by 2030.

The largest element of emissions across the Yarra community, of course, derives from the community’s activities, rather than those due to the activities of the Council of Yarra itself.

The City of Yarra has long had programs focused on reducing on Council’s own emissions. Until the CEP, there had been no coherent plan focusing on how community emissions might be curtailed.

While YCAN has been supportive of the CEP, we have, nonetheless, been critical of a variety of aspects of the Plan. In particular, we would characterise the strategies to reduce emissions in the Plan as a bit of a “grab bag”. It has not been clear to us that funding has been allocated to those programs with the potential to bring about the greatest reduction in emissions at the lowest possible cost and/or at the greatest speed.

In 2021, the City of Yarra hired a consultant, Ironbark Sustainability, to undertake a more systematic review of where emissions across the municipality were emanating from and what strategies might be most effective in achieving abatement.

This review was designed as an input into the next iteration of the CEP due in 2024. However, YCAN has been advocating that some of the key findings of the report, in particular, the emphasis on tackling business emissions, should be prioritised immediately.

At the same time as Ironbark Sustainability were at work on their report, the City of Yarra, itself, was also at work on a detailed plan focused on how Council emissions could be driven down to zero (that is, gross zero emissions, not merely net zero emissions achieved through the use of carbon offsets).

This work is incredibly detailed and comprehensive and we commend the officers in the sustainability team at the City of Yarra for their work in bringing it together.

Download more information from the Yarra Council’s website (PDFs):

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