Action towards a carbon neutral capital

Wednesday, 06 February, 2008


Making Canberra a carbon neutral capital is a key focus for the Switch to Green expo and conference to be held at the National Convention Centre on 4–5 April 2008.

Switch to Green will be opened by Jon Stanhope, Chief Minister of the ACT government and co-hosted by United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA), the ACT government, Canberra Business Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Conservation Council.

The distinct perspectives of the five co-hosts will create a comprehensive approach to ensure the ACT region is a ‘green leader’ in climate change action.

“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon reminded the international community in Bali late last year that climate change ... is the moral challenge of our generation and succeeding generations depend on us; we cannot rob our children of their future,” said Russell Rollason, president of the UNAA (ACT).

“Closer to home, a Treasury alert to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd identified climate change as “the single most pressing environmental, economic and social challenge this country faces”. Urgent action to reduce carbon emissions is needed at all levels internationally and in Australia, and this event will provide a critical opportunity to identify what we can do now in the ACT and surrounding region.”

“There is a high level of awareness in the community that the climate is changing but also frustration and confusion over what could or should be done and what individuals can do. Resolving the problem should not be the responsibility of any one sector in the community. The problem is shared and so too must be the solution. This is why the Switch to Green expo and conference should be supported,” said Stanhope.

Topics covered at the conference will include how we can shape climate-friendly cities; a look at life, work and travel in the next decade; how solar energy can make a contribution to reducing carbon emissions; the ACT government’s climate change strategy, Weathering the Change, which sets carbon neutral targets for government buildings and ACT schools and a renewable energy target for Canberra; Australia’s responsibility to adopt global targets and the potential impact of climate change on low income Australians.

The parallel expo will showcase products designed for a greener and sustainable future in four specific areas: home, work, travel and community. Each of the exhibitors has been assessed for best practice against the Switch to Green criteria, developed with and endorsed by the green industry experts — Green Pages Australia.

As part of the expo program, there will be interactive workshops, seminars and demonstrations on how to take action. ‘Working with solar as a community’ by the community-based organisation SEE-Change, ‘Making your home sustainable’ by Derek Wrigley, author of the book by the same title, and ‘What you can do now’ by the Home Energy Advice Team, are some of the topics that will be addressed.

Other highlights include:

  • A Switch to Green Business and Community Award;
  • Welcome Green Cocktail;
  • Switch to Green — Model ‘green’ event;
  • Gala dinner with VIPs and special guests.
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