Together we can reduce our emissions and prepare for the opportunities and challenges presented by climate change.

Lyttelton harbour

Climate change programme

Climate change presents some significant opportunities and challenges for communities and businesses here and around the world. The Council has established a climate change programme to better respond to the issues and opportunities presented by climate change.  

History

Christchurch City Council has a history of taking climate action.

These actions provide valuable opportunities to share, learn and collaborate with other organisations and communities.

They also demonstrate the importance and power of collective action.


2008

In 2008 the Council established and began to implement the Sustainable Energy Strategy 2008 which will be revised in 2019.


2010

In 2010 the Council established and began to implement the Climate Smart Strategy 2010 which will be revised in 2019.


2011

In 2011 the Council crafted and was a founding signatory of the Local Government New Zealand Climate Change Declaration(external link) that has now been signed by 54 Mayors and Regional Council Chairs throughout New Zealand.

This outlines key principles and actions needed for addressing climate change.


2015

In 2015 the Council established and began to implement the Christchurch Energy Action Plan 2015 which will be revised in 2019.


2016

In 2016 New Zealand joined 196 other nations when it signed the Paris Accord. This aims to limit planetary warming to no more than 2 degrees to avoid the worst impacts of climate change for ourselves and future generations.

To achieve this goal, all communities and businesses need to rapidly transition to a low carbon economy reducing global emissions by more than 80% by 2050. This represents a significant challenge and opportunity for innovation, the green economy and for Christchurch.

Taking climate action will result in widespread benefits for our communities.

For example, it will bring about new jobs and business opportunities required to support a sustainable and future-proofed economy under new climatic conditions. An economy that supports strong connected communities where there are good levels of health and wellbeing, a reduction in waste and pollution, and a focus in improving our natural environment. 

In short, it will help make Christchurch an even better place to live for generations to come.


2017

Christchurch joined 7,400 other cities in 2017 when it signed the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy(external link) which assists cities to manage emissions and to prepare for a changing climate.

Christchurch was also one of the first Rockefeller 100 Resilience Cities(external link) helping to prepare for our key resilience challenges. 

Also, in 2017 the Council set itself the target to be net carbon neutral by 2030(external link).

Our carbon footprint

New Zealand emissions

New Zealand accounts for a fraction of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions, about 0.17%. 

However, on a per capita basis we have a large footprint, emitting 18 tonnes of greenhouse gasses per person, every year. This makes New Zealand one of the highest per capita emitters in the world.

Find out more about New Zealand’s carbon footprint at the Ministry for the Environment(external link)


Christchurch District emissions

In 2017 Christchurch emitted 2,485,335 tonnes of greenhouse gases (excluding removals from growing trees) which equates to 6.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per person. This is much lower than national emissions because Christchurch District has fewer agricultural emissions.

This level of emissions is below recent per capita estimates for Dunedin and Auckland, but above the per capita estimates for Tauranga and Wellington.

Pie chart of emissions

Sector Gross emissions contribution
Transportation 53% 
Stationary Energy 23% 
Agriculture 10% 
Waste 9% 
IPPU (Industry) 5% 

Christchurch community carbon footprint report

In 2016/17 Council commissioned AECOM New Zealand Limited to develop a community carbon footprint for the Christchurch District.

The report gives a detailed overview of Christchurch’s emission profile and is useful when looking at ways to mitigate climate change.

Read the full report. [PDF, 1.3 MB] 


Christchurch City Council emissions

In 2017 the Council emitted an estimated 13,280 tonnes of greenhouse gases from its facilities, services and operations. Most of the emissions occurred from electricity used by Council buildings and street lights.

In 2017 the Council set the target of being carbon neutral (net zero greenhouse gas emissions) as an organisation by 2030. Council also joined the CEMARS certification programme to help measure and manage its emissions over time.

Local impacts

Christchurch can expect many social, economic and environmental impacts resulting from our changing climate.  We must anticipate and prepare for these unavoidable changes, while significantly reducing global emissions to minimise future changes and risks.  

Following guidance from Central Government and reporting from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Canterbury can expect to have more intense weather events in the future and needs to make plans for a changing climate. 

The Council is working with the community to better understand these changes and to establish ways to proactively respond to these risks.

Learn more about the local impacts of climate change:


Get involved

We are stronger together and all must play our part to harness the opportunities and overcome the challenges of climate change. There are many ways to reduce your environmental footprint and grow resilience.

Measure your footprint

Find out what actions contribute the most to your emissions and see how low you can get them.

There are many carbon calculators online, but Carbon Zero(external link) have a simple one based on NZ data.

Have your say

Let businesses, political leaders, friends and family know your views and encourage them to take action on climate change.

Understanding how to engage in Council decisions is a good way to start.

Leave the car at home

Walking, cycling, scootering, busing or car pooling is the best way to get around and can make you feel great. 

Christchurch has new cycle ways, a new bus exchange and lime scooters to make trips easy and fun.

Be energy efficient

Saving energy saves money and can help make a healthy home. Free home energy advice is available from:

Reduce your rubbish

Reducing rubbish is simple and is something that can involve the whole family. 

Find out more about the kerbside collection service or buy pre-loved items from second hand stores and the Eco-Shop(external link).  

Enjoy local healthy food and less meat

Enjoy delicious fresh produce by growing your own food at home or buying from local markets.

Even a few vegetarian meals each week can dramatically lower your household footprint.

Proactively respond to risks

New Zealand has many natural hazards that we need to be aware of and emergencies can happen anywhere, any time.

Understanding the different risks and making a plan will help you to get ready and get through(external link).

Get to know your neighbours and help out in your community

Neighbours are often your first line of defence should an emergency occur and meeting them can be a piece of cake or a street party.

The Council provides support throughout summer for neighbourhood gatherings(external link).

Keep learning

Christchurch offers future living skills courses(external link) that cover a wide range of sustainable household topics.

They provide a practical and fun way to learn with others about reducing your footprint and supporting resilience.