What is climate change mitigation?
The Earth’s temperature is warming due to higher emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, and other ‘heat-trapping’ gases into the atmosphere. This process is known as the greenhouse effect.
It's largely caused by human-related industrial processes and the burning of fossil fuels. Climate change mitigation refers to actions that reduce the rate of climate change, and prevent future warming of the climate.
This is achieved by reducing or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, and by enhancing activities that remove these gases from the atmosphere.
Our Emissions Reduction Pledge
At South East Water, our customers expect us to have a positive impact on our natural environment and the communities we serve. Given the threats posed by climate change, as well as the Victorian Government’s sector-wide Water for Victoria plan, a huge part of this is taking active steps to reduce our contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. The cornerstone of this is our Emissions Reduction Pledge, which is our formal commitment to reduce our annual carbon emissions by 45% (18,729 tCO2-e) and we are comitted to sourcing 100% renewable energy by 2025 relative to our baseline emissions (our average annual emissions between 2011 and 2016, which was 41,744 tCO2-e). This commitment supports our overall goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
We're pleased to continue our commitment to purchasing renewable energy. This includes a major purchase of power under the Zero Emissions Water program, installing solar panels at our water recycling plants and using more efficient technology to reduce our power consumption needs at our facilities. Finding ways to reduce our need for power from the grid will help us reduce carbon emissions from a vital service. We want to carry on the spirit of the Pledge beyond 2030.
With a growing number of organisations appreciating the urgency of climate change action, the terms ‘net-zero’ and ‘carbon neutral’ are being used more commonly. But what do they mean?
Carbon neutrality is achieved when an entity’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are balanced, or neutralised, with an equivalent amount of CO2 removals. Net-zero emissions refers to the condition where there is no net release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gas emissions, encompassing CO2 and non-CO2 emissions, are balanced with greenhouse gas removals over a time period (IPCC 2022).
We're aiming for net-zero emissions from our operations by 2030 and investigating ways to carry that on into the future.