Climate action gets city ready for future challenges

Posted .

The City of Sydney’s new climate adaptation strategy outlines a plan of actions to safeguard Sydney against the threat of soaring temperatures, worsening storms and rising sea levels.

The plan has been developed in collaboration with major science organisations, top businesses and the community, with an independent citizen’s panel offering community input and rating climate action priorities.

The most popular climate change actions, as rated by the community during the public exhibition period are:

  • 92 per cent – trees and plants for shade, cooling and shelter;
  • 88 per cent – open space and infrastructure for changing rainfall;
  • 87 per cent – buildings, streets and open space to withstand extreme heat;
  • 86 per cent – factoring climate change in to all future City decisions; and
  • 84 per percent – lobbying for design and building codes that plan for climate change.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the biggest challenge with climate change remained moving fast enough to cut emissions.

“Our days are getting much hotter and those hot days are happening more often. The temperature’s already jumped by an average 0.9C and that’s just the start,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We’ve reached the critical decade for action on climate change and cities are on the frontline.

“The good news is we’re already seeing the positive effects of our commitment to tackling climate change in Sydney – in terms of emissions reductions, cost savings for residents and business, and in quality of life.

“Working with a citizen’s panel on this plan helped identify key recommendations, including factoring climate change into city planning, planting trees and greenery, and designing buildings, streets and open space to withstand extreme heat.”

Priority actions recommended in the strategy include:

  • Developing a heatwave response plan;
  • Raising awareness about climate-related events such as air pollution, bushfires and heatwaves;
  • Developing a sea level rise adaption action plan;
  • Working with energy companies to assess trigger points and potential vulnerability of the City’s power supply; and
  • Calling for changes to engineering and building standards and codes to address climate change.
Under the Sustainable Sydney 2030 Strategy, the City has an ambitious long-term target of reducing its carbon emissions by 70 per cent and increasing the city’s tree canopy by 50 per cent by 2030.

The City has planted 11,400 street trees in the past decade. There are around 30,000 street trees across the city, and a further 12,000 trees in the city’s parks and open spaces.105 parks have been created or renewed.

The City of Sydney is also installing solar panels across buildings, retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency and harvesting and treating stormwater for a cleaner environment. A major program to install energy efficient LEDs in street and park lights across its entire local area has been completed reducing energy use by 40 per cent and improving visibility at night.

Over 6,150 conventional street and park lights have been replaced with energy efficient LEDs over the past three years, saving nearly $800,000 a year in electricity bills and maintenance costs while saving energy.

The urban heat island effect means cities are often a few degrees warmer than regional areas due to surfaces such as roads, footpaths and buildings absorbing heat from the sun.

The City’s climate adaptation plan is part of a series of environmental strategies, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, advanced waste treatment and decentralised water management.

For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Claire Thompson, phone 02 9265 9582 or email 

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Matt Levinson on 0499 319 385 or email

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