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Gold Coast natural environment

We have one of Australia's most biodiverse cities. Let's explore, celebrate and work together to protect it for the future.

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Climate change

Student learning with Council’s Energy Education trailer

Climate change is the accelerated change to long-term average conditions of the biosphere, caused by excessive amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased dramatically over the 200 years through burning fossil fuels and clearing the land of trees. The enhanced greenhouse effect is as if someone put a thicker blanket over the earth, which causes the atmosphere to trap more energy and heat up.

Positive action

Because we all use energy which releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we can all make a positive difference to climate change.

The Gold Coast emits approximately nine (9) million tonnes of CO2 equivalents each year - 16 tonnes per resident. Our average rate of CO2 emissions per person is lower than the Australian average (20 tonnes) - probably due to the mild weather. The total amount of energy consumed by the Gold Coast community each year is equivalent (if it was possible) to driving to the sun and back 100 times. This is partially offset with over 50,000 Gold Coast homes producing their own solar power. 

The local air quality on the Gold Coast is generally high due to relatively low levels of industrial emissions, however increasing population and reliance on motor vehicles is placing pressure on our air quality. Using less energy, solar power and choosing energy-smart appliances helps reduce our community's contribution to climate change.

City of Gold Coast has included consideration for the effects of climate change in its coastal protection, flood and bushfire mitigation strategies and in the long-term planning for the city. We have considered sea level rise in our land use planning since 1999. Our response is in line with Queensland State Government projections.

Climate change milestones

Solar panels installed at Broadwater Parklands, Southport

The City of Gold Coast (Council)’s first recorded response to climate change science was in 1977.

Over the subsequent years, as scientists and governments around the world have continued to assess the potential impacts of global warming, Council has debated and assessed how the city will be affected, and has implemented planning measures at all levels to mitigate the risks to the Gold Coast presented by our changing climate.

Here is a summary of the key milestones in Council’s climate change journey:

Date Milestones
1977 Council makes enquiry to Federal Government in relation to offering assistance with climate change research.
1997 Council joins ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) program.
1998 As part of CCP, Council sets target of 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for Council operations, and also commissions sea level rise research with CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation).
2000 Council measures its carbon footprint for the first time and begins to promote sustainability messages to the community.
2001 CCP Action Plan developed, outlining measures to reduce greenhouse emissions.
2002 Council develops a database to help monitor energy consumption, and installs landfill gas to energy generation at our two main landfill sites.
2003 Council builds sea level rise into required considerations for city planning scheme.
2004 Solar panels installed at Nerang Library.
2005 Council introduces hybrid vehicles into its corporate car fleet.
2006 Council builds and promotes an energy education trailer for school visits, and promotes sustainable ‘Innovation House 2’ with developer.
2007 Council trials alternative transport fuels such as e10, LPG and biodiesel.
2008 Gold Coast trial of energy efficient street lighting and domestic green waste collection.
2009 Council develops and endorses a climate change strategy, hosts a Gold Coast climate change summit, and establishes a dedicated climate change team.
2010 Council undertakes economic feasibility study of renewable energy installation, and becomes one of first 20 fleets in Australia to trial an all-electric vehicle.
2011 Council installs solar hot water at tourist parks.
2012 Council organises an 'Earth Hour' community event.
2013 Council establishes Natural Hazard team to coordinate policy and planning on flood, bushfire and landslide.
2016 Council rolls out a range of renewable energy installations across multiple sites including Commonwealth Games venues.

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