More than 2,000 local governments in 37 countries have declared a climate emergency to acknowledge that our world is in a climate crisis. These jurisdictions cover more than one billion people.
While the words ’emergency and ‘crisis’ are alarming, the great thing about declaring a climate emergency is that we are seeing positive action happening right around the world to address climate change.
As part of declaring a climate emergency, local governments are planning how they will minimise the risks of climate change. Making the declaration acknowledges that they need to take more action to mitigate climate change risks.
Australia is leading the way with more than 100 councils representing 9 million people having declared a climate emergency. No longer wanting to be known for just the three Rs of roads, rates and rubbish, local governments are adding a fourth R to that list—risk mitigation. Recognising they are in an enviable position to respond to the climate emergency, local governments are taking advantage of that position to affect genuine change within their municipality. And we’re seeing great outcomes.
Taking action to reduce climate change risks
From mass tree plantings to switching to renewable energy sources, from landfill reduction initiatives to supporting their communities to be more sustainable, local governments around the world are finding innovative ways to take action against climate change. And some, like in California, are being forced to take action due to new laws. And that’s a good thing!
California has introduced a new law for leaf blowers, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, chain saws and other outdoor maintenance equipment. From 1 January 2024, new sales must be electric—battery or plug-in operation—and emit zero air pollution.
Since the 1990s, standards for cars have been introduced around the world and further tightened to reduce emissions. However, small engine equipment, largely used in outdoor maintenance, has not been regulated. This means that a top-selling petrol-powered lawn mower used for just one hour emits the same air pollution as a Toyota Camry driving from Canberra to Melbourne.
Considering California has 16.7 million small engine pieces of equipment compared to 13.7 million cars, and how many emissions those small engines make, laws to prevent or restrict their sale are an obvious decision. This is a positive step to come out of the climate crisis.
State and territory governments in Australia are feeling pressure to introduce similar laws to ban the sale of new petrol or diesel-powered outdoor maintenance equipment like mowers and leaf blowers.
Many Australian councils already recognise that new laws for the sale of outdoor maintenance equipment will be implemented within the next few years. They can see the climate and economic benefit of transitioning to a green fleet ahead of the new standards.
Houston, Texas, known as the US heart of the oil and gas industry, is aiming to meet its emissions targets by:
The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050. To reach its target, the city is planting enough trees to double its tree cover and planning a new network of bicycle lanes to connect residential areas to the city centre. The city is also rehousing people who live in areas at high risk of flooding.
Known as one of the fashion capitals of the world, Italy’s Milan is undergoing a transformation to become a walking and cycling haven, developing a network of new bicycle and pedestrian paths. The city has set its sights on being carbon neutral by 2050. To help reach its target, the city is planting 220,000 trees and halving its food waste. Milan’s Mayor, Giuseppe Sala, says the city’s climate action is closely tied to its recovery from the COVID pandemic.
While it’s fantastic to see these large global initiatives happening, closer to home, it’s often the smaller actions that are making a big difference.
For small Australian local governments, they don’t have to take on the massive challenge of planting 4.6 million trees. Small actions like switching from petrol-powered to electric mowers will have a significant impact on their net-zero emissions target.
EcoTeq—Australia’s first supplier of zero-emission, 100% electric commercial mowers and maintenance equipment—is helping them make that switch.
At EcoTeq, we are a specialist 100% battery-powered equipment supplier, 100% focused on the performance of our machines, which are purpose-built from the ground up as an 100% electric vehicle. This means there is zero compromise when it comes to performance, safety or environmental impact.
We are on this long journey toward net-zero targets in partnership with our customers. We can help you take the smaller steps that make a big difference to your net-zero emissions targets. Service is just as important to us as our product quality—we’ll be with you every step of the way.