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March 3, 2024

Byron has a place at the table at climate conference

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Byron mayor Simon Richardson's plan for the shire to become Australia's first 'zero emissions community' has been adopted by council.
Byron mayor Simon Richardson has flown to Paris to share the shire’s plan to become Australia’s first ‘zero emissions community’.

Byron mayor Simon Richardson flew out to Paris on Saturday (November 28) to join the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) and to share some of the shire’s experiences in planning for a zero carbon future.

Byron council already has plans to go far beyond the federal government’s emissions reduction target.

Cr Richardson was invited to promote the shire’s Zero Emissions Byron project at the United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, which opened yesterday.

‘Whatever target countries sign up to in Paris, even if it’s lower than it should be, it will give security and confidence to regions, councils and companies and they will take that security and far outstrip that target,’ Cr Richardson said.

‘I’ll be involved in the Cities and Regions conference, where representatives from around the world will be showcasing what we’re doing and learning from each other.’

Byron Shire is aiming to become Australia’s first council to generate zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 through an ambitious project called Zero Emissions Byron (ZEB), a joint initiative of Byron Shire Council and climate research organisation Beyond Zero Emissions, together with the Queensland Centre for Social Change.

‘When facing the low carbon future ahead of us, we have two choices: ride the wave and make Byron economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and an inspiring model, or tread-water in the foam out the back of the wave and hope we don’t get left behind,’ Cr Richardson said.

‘This project to create Australia’s first zero emissions community in 10 years has the potential to secure millions of dollars of renewable energy and emission reduction investment, to secure and enhance the rich biodiversity of the region and support local communities establish cooperative models of living. It is the game changer for Byron and can be the game changer for Australia.

‘Re-navigating our economy to one powered by locally or regionally generated renewable energy with zero net emissions will create jobs, establish sustainable economies and ensure our society lives in balance with its environment. Byron Shire has the people with the skills and commitment to become a zero net emission community. Now is the time for this to start,’ he added.

Recently, the Australian Climate Leadership Summit recognised Lismore and Byron Shire councils along with the City of Sydney, the City of Adelaide, the City of Melbourne and the City of Perth for their emission reduction efforts earlier this month.

For more information on the Zero Emission Byron project visit www.zerobyron.org


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  1. The lines of traffic each day spewing out toxic gasses more than outweigh the carbon neutral footprint of the Shire. Time for practical tempered by ideological rather than vice versa.

  2. what a joke that our mayor for traffic choking roundabouts and underused sports fields jets at our expense to Paris, where he has not the slightest influence on any proceedings. In case he plans to learn somethings, he could have done that easier and lots cheaper by reading scientific papers here at home.
    Not happy simple Simon

  3. Invited by whom, and at whose expense?
    This council has money for shoring up the real estate investments of a few millionaires at Bilongil, and trips to Paris, but no money to make our roads safe or keep our infrastructure up to date.
    Makes one stop and think.

  4. Byron Bays economy is based on interstate and overseas travelers jetting in for a holiday. Um did they not think this through. Or does this all come down to where you draw the boundary of your carbon neutral economy. No,no its all ok the aircraft fuel up in Ballina shire or up on the Queensland border. Fantasist earth raping developers trying to trick themselves and everyone else that their business model is environmental. Stay at home earth wrecking tourists and spend your money and time healing the place where you live and have already destroyed in your quest for one up mans ship. Don’t destroy our place any more.


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