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The climate 2030 review, carried out by Coffey Services (NZL) Ltd, focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation the Dunedin City Council could undertake.
The 110-page report suggested "quick wins" and next steps for the council in each of its main sectors.
Investment in reducing transport sector emissions was deemed the highest priority to achieve the council’s Zero Carbon 2030 target.
The study paid particular attention to transport, the sector where emissions were highest (39% of total emissions).
The report identifies reducing the kilometres travelled by people, increasing sustainable modes of transport, more efficient car use, and increasing use of lower emission cars as potential ways of reducing emissions.
Increasing housing density, making transport part of land use planning, increasing the cost of parking in the central city and flexible working practices would encourage a "mode shift" to get people out of cars, and reduce people’s mileage.
Quick wins included more public transport, introducing "tactical urbanism" to slow road traffic, and encouraging council staff to undertake alternative transport like e-bikes.
Event locations that people could walk, bike or bus to should be encouraged, the review said.
Next steps for the transport sector comprised making the council’s car fleet electric, removing minimum parking requirements from the district plan, investigating commuter travel between Dunedin and Mosgiel, and developing of a parking strategy for the city which supported modes of transport other than single-occupancy cars.
In the waste and energy sector, suggestions included diverting organic waste from the landfill and council electrifying its rubbish collection vehicles.
Quick wins for reducing emissions in the waste sector were practically impossible without detailed analysis, it said, but establishing a means to separate organic waste when designing the new landfill was a suggested next step.
Carbon offsetting and carbon insetting were mentioned as options to explore.
"For a community to become net zero carbon and resilient to the effects of climate change presents an extremely difficult challenge. It requires a paradigm shift in response to a problem that still feels somewhat distant in comparison to the day-to-day and near term concerns of most communities."
The review’s final recommendation was the council should prepare a climate change programme plan.
This could include more specific reductions targets and a timeline for climate change mitigation, including interim targets and offsetting targets, as well as potential costs.
The council should prioritise mitigation initiatives, and develop measures to track its progress, it said.
Councillors last month approved six full-time positions in its draft budgets for its 2021-31 plan to continue its carbon neutral work programme.