Resilience & Climate Change


Actions to address climate change risks include those relating to both the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation through resilience planning.  Steps towards carbon neutrality and Climate Active (opens in a new window) accreditation are underway, along with consideration of a future climate positive state.

Overview

Key Strategies Emerging

Building upon our  Sustainable Energy Strategy (PDF, 1912.14 KB) (opens in a new window) and Carbon Neutrality Implementation Plan (PDF, 956.37 KB) (opens in a new window) , steps are underway towards achieving Climate Active (opens in a new window) accredited Carbon Neutrality by 2023. This strategy builds upon our commitment to low carbon Green Star accredited buildings, and electricity supply contract with 100% accredited GreenPower.

Resilience planning embeds a lifecycle approach across all climate change risks; including planning and preparedness, operational responses, recovery and continuous improvement. Western's progress is outlined in its Climate Ready discussion paper ( PDF, 1576.24 KB) (opens in a new window) which built upon the initial 2019 Preliminary Resilience Assessment ( PDF, 1822.81 KB) (opens in a new window).

Management Initiatives Underway

Progress towards ClimateActive accredited Carbon Neutrality will build upon a process to:

  • Validate the Climate Active (opens in a new window) carbon footprint for Western,
  • Engage stakeholders in identifying mitigation strategies, and
  • Purchasing carbon offsets for residual requirements.

Applying a lifecycle approach to Resilience Planning includes:

  • Preparedness through embedding resilience in strategy, planning, and integrative infrastructure strategies,
  • Operational responses to address renewable energy, urban heat, bushfire mitigation and response, and regional  collaboration,
  • Recovery of our community and incorporation lessons learned to improve preparedness and responses.

Related Living Lab Initiatives

Compliance Requirements and Risk

Achieving Carbon Neutral accreditation from Climate Active (opens in a new window) will require significant stakeholder buy-in and relevant data provision and stewardship. Once accreditation is achieved, yearly auditing and reporting will be required, along with expected improvements in methodologies required for data capture and verification.

For resilience planning, a focus needs to be on systemic connectivity, to mitigate ‘cascading failures’ (Resilient Sydney). Increased temperatures, heat, drought bushfires and storms have multiple complex impacts on health, amenity, productivity and ecology within the social-ecological landscape of Western Sydney.

Trends and Interdependencies

The recent 6th Assessment report of the IPCC (opens in a new window) reinforced robust evidence of climate change symptoms due to human activity, reinforcing the need for enhanced mitigation and adaptation efforts by all organisations, communities, and levels of government.

Targets

2023Carbon Neutral Accreditation from Climate Active (opens in a new window)
2025Climate Positive pilot - Hawkesbury campus
2029Become a Climate Positive organisation

Initiatives and Case Studies

Carbon Neutrality Implementation Plan

The organisational carbon footprint was estimated in relation to the Climate Active (opens in a new window) boundary in the image below.

Scope 1 emissions are from stationary and transport fuels, natural gas, and refrigerants used on site (4% of footprint), and Scope 2 emissions include electricity consumption supplied from the grid (39% of footprint). Scope 3 emissions are from capital works (22%), and the manufacture, transport and disposal of all goods, and provision of services, in our supply chains (35%).

Key areas for future initiatives fuel switching of gas and fuel to renewably sourced electricity (eg for heat pumps, electric vehicles). Opportunities are emerging for business services with carbon neutral accreditation. A combination of technology and alternative transport options for commuting and inter-campus travel is also a key opportunity. The purchase of carbon offsets will be necessary to address the carbon footprint, with the cost of offsets creating an internal incentive for further emissions reductions. Eventually, decarbonisation of the economy will support transition towards positive carbon opportunities, with carbon captured exceeding reduced emissions.

Carpark Solar Structure, Kingswood

An integrated pilot, and associated Urban Heat and Solar Engineering Living Lab, is being developed on Kingswood campus. The carpark structure is a potential integrated solution, addressing a key area of urban heat in Western Sydney: open air carparks. The benefits of this structure include:

  • Generation of solar power as a strategy to reduce peak energy load
  • Cooling and shading of carparks, reducing heat load
  • Amenity and accessibility of shaded carparks
  • Safety through design, improving access during intense storms
  • Potential bundling with EV car charging points.

Carbon Footprint estimate 2019 baseline

SDGs 3,4,11,13,14, 17