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SEGRA Foundation

Regions helping achieve net zero


By Charles Jenkinson, SEGRA Foundation and RDA South West Director

RDA South West is working with the region’s local governments to set us out on the journey to net zero from the ground up.

Achieving net zero is not someone else’s problem – it belongs to all of us and we can’t just wait for someone else to fix it. The issue starts with you and me and the local level.

The IPCC gave its last warning on carbon emissions: Reduce greenhouse gases now or see temperatures rise by more than 1.5C.

Hey, 1.5C or 2C so what difference does 0.5C degrees make?

The answer: Truly HUGE, especially impacts on sea ice, coral reefs, flora/fauna and global populations.

Let’s call our response ‘Wet Paint Syndrome’. What!?

You see the person, brush in hand, sprucing up the park bench with a bright splash of colour. They put a sign out that says – Wet Paint. So why do you have to go and put your finger on it to see if it’s really wet paint. Because you’re human and it’s what we do. We don’t believe people who have studied the subject. Truth is in experience, but do we really need find out if the world’s leading scientists actually do know more than we do? Is that extra half-degree all that bad?

These few paragraphs are on the rant spectrum, and that is not the intent. The challenge is to unearth the regional opportunity when confronted with a problem that would appear to come with unpalatable financial overheads.

Net zero isn’t going to bankrupt us. Regional Australia will be home to large scale renewable energy. Sustainability principles in buildings will save us all money on running costs over the long term, waste facilities will create jobs through recycling, biofuels will be required for agriculture and where we can use EVs, the provision of upgraded electrical infrastructure might open other doors of opportunity.

Regional Australia will need skilled technicians and there will be more jobs paying higher wages. The regions will need to become greener, physically and metaphorically, and lead not follow innovation.

This is what net zero will look like.