What's the Council doing?

We’ve got emissions targets to aim for. Find out what we’re doing to prepare our communities for the changing climate.

Electric tools and van replace fossil-fuel powered options.

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Our commitment to providing strong climate action leadership in partnership with our communities is outlined in our strategy Kia tūroa te Ao – Ōtautahi Christchurch Climate Resilience Strategy 2021 [PDF, 1.8 MB], a framework for collective action that will help Christchurch reach our target of net zero emissions by 2045 while preparing for and adapting to climate change.

The strategy sets four climate change goals for the city which are underpinned by 10 climate action programmes. We're working closely with our communities across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula to implement these action programmes. 

Targets to reduce emissions

Christchurch district 

As a Council, we have committed to do everything we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our district. 

Our aim for Christchurch is to halve emissions by 2030, compared with 2016-17 levels, and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 (with at least a 50 per cent reduction in methane emissions by 2045).

These targets were set in 2019 when the Council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency, in response to strong feedback from our community(external link). Cities and countries worldwide have also committed to taking urgent action to cut their emissions.

You can read a detailed overview of our emissions in the Christchurch greenhouse gas emission inventories for financial years 2018/2019 and 2016/2017 – AECOM report(external link), published October 2020.

Our focus is on our living and transport options, as the issues of where and how we live, and how we get around, go hand-in-hand.

Take a look at our Emission Tracker(external link) to get a better understanding of our biggest emission sources, as well as general transport trends in our district.

The burning of petrol and diesel fossil fuels releases emissions, including carbon dioxide. These emissions stay in the atmosphere for an extremely long time, trapping heat from the sun and raising global temperatures.

Council

As an organisation, Christchurch City Council has a programme of work to deliver on our resource efficiency and greenhouse gas emission policy. We measure and report the greenhouse gas emissions across our operations and have set a target for our activities to be net carbon neutral by 2030. 

During the 2018/2019 financial year, the Council emitted a total gross of 21,862 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e).

Reducing emissions

Better ways to get around

On-road petrol and diesel transport accounts for 36 per cent of Christchurch’s total emissions. We have already done plenty of work to make it easier, safer and healthier to choose better, low-emission ways to get around, and more ways are in the works. 

There are more than 60km of cycleways, plus a network of shared paths and cycle lanes, throughout the city. These make for fast, fun, simple and safe travel, and are great for health, fitness, and saving money.

We’re supporting easy travel by providing electric vehicle charging stations at many Council and business sites throughout the city and Banks Peninsula.

Residents and businesses have access to a car-sharing fleet of zero-exhaust-emission vehicles from Zilch at locations throughout the city. The Council has greatly reduced its vehicle fleet and is using these vehicles.

We’ve improved bus shelters, built dedicated bus lanes and bus lounges make it more convenient and comfortable to use public transport.

Around 3000 schoolchildren learn to bike safely using our bike skills training programme every year. These courses are also available for adults who want to gain bike confidence and use the cycle network. 

We have a comprehensive travel planning programme for schools and central city businesses available to support and encourage low-emission travel. 

Using less energy

Since 2012, we’ve slashed more than 1150 tonnes of emissions annually by converting Christchurch’s streetlights to LED. This also saves ratepayers more than $1.5 million in electricity and maintenance costs. There are nearly 44,000 streetlights in the entire network and completion is on track for 2024.

Parakiore Recreation and Sport Centre will be the first of its kind in New Zealand to use the central city’s wastewater system to provide all of the facility’s heating.

This thermal energy map (external link)(external link) that Smart Alliances created in 2018 shows the large amount of potential heat that’s available through Christchurch’s larger wastewater pipes in the network.

Parakiore’s system will take wastewater from the underground pipes,  screen out the solids, then push the wastewater through a heat exchanger before it’s returned to the network.

The heat taken from the sewerage is then transferred to another flow loop that’s designed to extract enough energy to power 35,000 100-watt lightbulbs.

The system has been designed so that it’s impossible for the wastewater to contact the pool water that it will heat.

Crown delivery agency Rau Paenga is overseeing the delivery of the Parakiore Recreation and Sport Centre.

For more information and the latest updates on the construction of Parakiore, visit Parakiore Recreation and Sport Centre | Rau Paenga(external link)

Reducing landfill 

Our red, yellow and green bin kerbside collection service allows us to reduce waste going to landfill, which reduces the emissions our landfill produces. 

As well as being better for the environment, this saves ratepayers' money. Sorting items into the right bins also means that recyclable items get repurposed and organics are turned into compost.

Find out more about how to 'bin good' and download our handy app here.

Sustainability fund

We welcome proposals for inspired and innovative ways to reduce emissions or ways to grow our resilience to the impacts of climate change. If you, your school or business have a great idea for a sustainability project you could get support from the Sustainability Fund.

Get thinking and find out more about the Sustainability Fund.(external link)

Preparing for climate change impacts

Coastal hazards

The first step in adapting to the challenges created by the impacts of climate change and sea level rise is understanding the risks. 

Our Coastal Hazards page(external link) provides information about this programme and the work that’s been undertaken so far. Our Coastal Hazards adaptation programme explains our approach to planning our response to sea-level rise and associated coastal hazards.

Use the Coastsnap tool(external link) to help us better understand and manage our coastal environment.

High tide statistics were reviewed in 2018 for Christchurch coastal areas and you can read the latest tidal data(external link).

Flooding

Find out about which areas of Christchurch are prone to flooding(external link) and how the Canterbury earthquakes worsened flooding in many areas of the city.

The Christchurch District Plan has provisions for a framework for managing land use(external link) in areas that are subjected to natural hazards such as flooding.

Flood management: Christchurch City Council(external link)

Te Wai Ora o Tāne Integrated Water Strategy

Our Integrated Water Strategy(external link) sets a path for the future management of our water resources, water services and associated infrastructure. It includes responding/adapting to the anticipated effects of sea-level rise on water resources and related infrastructure.

Adaptation planning 

Our coastal hazards adaptation programme explains our approach to planning for how we respond to sea-level rise and associated coastal hazards like flooding, erosion and rising groundwater.

Adapting to coastal hazards: Christchurch City Council(external link)