On a mission to cut emissions

Former councillor turned bureaucrat, Dunedin City Council principal policy adviser sustainability...
Former councillor turned bureaucrat, Dunedin City Council principal policy adviser sustainability Jinty MacTavish was one of the driving forces behind the council’s ambitious 2030 zero-carbon plan. PHOTO: CRAIG BAXTER
For good, or bad, these "newsmakers" were the people making headlines in 2023.

A former Dunedin city councillor turned bureaucrat has been a driving force behind the council’s recently adopted zero-carbon plan.

Jinty MacTavish served as a councillor for two terms, but did not stand for re-election in 2016.

The environment and sustainability were a passion both during her time as a councillor and beyond. Now the council’s principal policy adviser sustainability, Ms MacTavish authored a report in 2020 warning of the city’s worsening levels of emissions.

It also said prior efforts to bring organisations together on the issue had been unsuccessful.

A Zero Carbon Alliance 2030 was proposed to combat the issue, and was later voted into reality.

Ms MacTavish said because the zero carbon 2030 goal was approaching, and because emissions had continued to increase, it was essential to use partnership-based efforts to reduce emissions.

"A formal partnership of major agencies committed to emissions reduction could also play a key support role in the development of a city-wide emissions reduction plan."

She emphasised the zero carbon 2030 target set by council in 2019 was "undoubtedly ambitious", however, conversations with key partners, including the tertiary institutes, indicated they were willing to work towards the goal.

In September last year, the council voted 11-4 to adopt its zero-carbon plan, and signalled a high-investment scenario was favoured.

Both the high and medium investment trajectories will go into the council's draft 2024-34 long-term plan for public consultation, and high investment will be listed as the preferred option.

Ms MacTavish has cited transport as a particular area where the city could reduce its emissions, for example through bus services and cycling infrastructure.

It is an area that accounts for 34% of total city emissions, second only to agricultural emissions.