Governing Carbon Mitigation and Climate Change within Local Councils: A Case Study of Adelaide, South Australia

Heather Zeppel


There is growing concern about climate change impacts on local government areas. In Australia, the federal carbon tax (from 1 July 2012) will also increase costs for local councils. This paper evaluates what carbon mitigation (i.e. energy, water, and waste management) actions have been implemented by metropolitan Adelaide councils (n=14) and why (or why not). A survey of environmental officers profiled carbon mitigation actions, emissions auditing, and motives for emissions reduction by Adelaide councils. The main reasons for adopting carbon actions were a climate change plan, climate leadership, and cost savings. Internal council governance of climate change actions was also evaluated. A climate governance framework based on adaptive management, communication, and reflective practice (Nursey-Bray 2010) was applied to assess climate mitigation by Adelaide councils.

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