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Carbon neutral water businesses

Water businesses in Victoria have been asked to develop plans to become carbon neutral by 2050.  It was a State Government directive and part of a broader response to acting on climate change.

This week the Australian Water Association put on an event “Becoming Carbon Neutral”.  We heard from the Bureau of Meteorology, SE Water and Jacobs.  Elisa de Wit from the Carbon Market Institute chaired the event.  ARUP hosted the event (and informed us how they are supporting staff with interest fee loans for solar at home).

A few things stood out for me:

  • The Bureau is very clear that the evidence and science suggests we are on a trajectory for more extreme climate change, and not on path to stay within 2 or 1.5 degrees.  This means that current (hot!) temperature extremes will not even be considered a cold year by 2100.
  • Water authorities are large energy users and responsible for large emissions.
  • Water authorities are dealing with mostly Scope 2 emissions, and there is a lot of opportunity to embrace energy efficiency and methane harvesting to reduce emissions
  • Melbourne Water’s emissions (that include desalination) will dwarf the scope of works and emissions reductions that individual water retailers take.

So, there is a lot of work to do!  We’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this intersection of energy, water and climate, and hope to publish some of that work later this year.

Below are some tweets I sent during the event.