Climate Change

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Hamilton City Council needs to be prepared to manage the likely impact climate change will have on our city and take steps to reduce the production of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, we committed to developing a comprehensive and city-wide response to climate change, in partnership with Waikato-Tainui, Waikato Regional Council, and other key organisations. Our first key step was to develop an Action Plan that outlines how we are responding.

2020/2021 Climate Change Action Plan​

In September 2020, the Environment Committee approved our 2020/2021 Climate Change Action Plan​. The Action Plan includes four areas we are focusing on for 2020/21. They are:

​Build our understanding

  • Understand our greenhouse gas emissions
  • Climate change scenarios and modelling​
  • Climate change readiness assessment 
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​Deliver change

  • Addressing Council emissions
  • Creating a low-carbon, resilient city  

​Climate Accord

  • ​Establishing a partnershi​​p with leading organisations and businesses in Hamilton 

​Collaborating and capacity building

  • Collaborating with other councils and community organisations
  • Building our capacity to respond to climate change ​

Ou​​​r greenhouse gas emissions targets

We have set two targets for our Council greenhouse gas emissions. Our targets are to be achieved by 2030 and are based on our 2018/19 emissions profile. We will achieve:

  • 50% reduction of gross greenhouse gas emissions (excluding biogenic methane); and
  • 25% reduction of emissions of biogenic methane

Biogenic methane emissions are produced from biological (plant and animal) sources, for example, from livestock and wastewater and waste treatment.

Hamilton City Council's greenhouse gas emissions

The Council's largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions is biogenic methane  from the city's wastewater treatment process. Between July 2018 and June 2019, the Council's treatment of Hamilton's wastewater produced 11,159 tonnes of CO2 equivalents (tCO2e ).  Our next largest source is electricity use.

In 2019 the Council used the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) and International Standard 14064, the most widely used measures for greenhouse gas accounting, to calculate its carbon emissions. These calculations have been independently checked and confirmed by Toitu (formerly Enviro-mark).

Hamilton City Council carbon footprint 2018/2019 (excluding biogenic methane emissions)


Reducing our emissions​

Following the assessment of our greenhouse gas emissions, we developed an Emissions Reduction Roadmap  that outlines how we can achieve our 50% reduction target. Some of the actions in the roadmap are already underway and others will be considered through the 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan.

In addition, through our sustainability and energy management programmes, we have implemented a number of projects and ongoing actions that reduce our organisation's carbon emissions. These include: ​

Using LEDs
  • ​73% of Hamilton's streetlights are now new energy-efficient LED lights, reducing energy emissions by 341 tCO2e.
  • Traffic signal lanterns have been replaced with LED lights.
  • Council buildings are using lower-energy LED lights

​Encourage biking and scooters ​

  • ​​Made scooters and electric bikes available for staff to use for work-related trips.
  • Introduced a scheme for staff to purchase e-bikes via a loan, to encourage environmentally friendly commuting to work.

​Reducing natural gas and LPG use​

  • ​​U​sing biogas generated from the digestion process at the wastewater treatment plant, offsetting natural gas use.
  • Using electric heat pumps to control air temperature at Waterworld instead of natural gas-fired boilers.
  • Replaced an LPG boiler with an electric heat pump to keep Hamilton Zoo's chimpanzees warm.

Monitor and reduce our energy and fuel use 

  • ​​​Monitoring our energy use to identify energy saving initiatives
  • 14% reduction in electricity and gas use from 2012
  • Target of average fuel use of 10 litres/100km driving changes in our fleet

Reducing our waste to landfill

  • ​​18,139 tonnes of waste was diverted from landfill at Council-operated waste facilities in 2018/19.
  • Encouraging waste reduction in Council 

Hamilton's greenhouse gas e​missions

To help us identify what actions could have the biggest impact on reducing Hamilton's greenhouse gas emissions, Hamilton City Council and Waikato Regional Council commissioned an emissions inventory.

The report calculated that our city generated a total of 1,000,243 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e) between July 2018 and June 2019. Transport is the city's largest source of emissions with 635,615 tCO2e, followed by energy used for industry and in homes (29%, 276,594 tCO2e). ​

Hamilton's 2018/2019 carbon footprint​

How is Council supporting the transition to a low-carbo​​n city?

The actions we take to reduce emissions across the city have the potential to deliver not just environmental benefits, but also improve social, cultural and economic wellbeing. We are already implementing projects to reduce our emissions from transport and waste and integrating climate change into our long-term planning.


Some of the key actions we are delivering this year include:

  • investing $10.45 million in the implementation of our Biking Plan. This includes the development of a biking and micro-mobility programme, improvements and upgrades to existing cycle infrastructure and the development of new cycleways as part of the projects detailed in our Biking Plan
  • improving traffic signal optimisation to reduce travel time. In May 2019, we achieved a 27% reduction in the average travel time from Mill Street-Seddon Road to Mill Street-Victoria Street
  • educating and supporting our communities to reduce waste through our Fight the Landfill campaign and our new kerbside collection services
  • funding waste reduction and minimisation programmes through our annual $50,000 contestable fund
  • approval of the Hamilton-Waikato Metro Spatial Plan by the Future Proof Implementation Committee​, a 100-year vision and 30-year plan for how Hamilton will grow up and out.

Page reviewed: 07 Jul 2021 9:02am