What is ‘carbon neutral’?

A community, place or activity is ‘carbon neutral’ if it is effectively emitting net zero greenhouse gases. Achieving carbon neutrality involves balancing greenhouse gas emissions with activity that removes emissions from the air, such as tree planting and storing carbon underground.

Why the world’s first carbon neutral city?

Becoming the world’s first carbon neutral city provides a platform to attract investment to the city and the state and create opportunities for local business. By leading the way we will demonstrate our capability, enhance new-economy jobs and industries, export our clean products and services to the world and enrich the liveability of our city.

Our shared vision for the city is a substantial task that will require changes to be made to metropolitan Adelaide’s transport and waste management systems and the state’s energy supply.

Our goal of carbon neutrality signals a clear direction to businesses and residents of South Australia and establishes a commitment to playing our part in limiting climate change to below two degrees of global temperature increase, as agreed globally at COP21 in December 2015, the UNFCCC Conference of Parties held in Paris.

South Australia faces an ever-present climatic challenge with droughts, floods and fires that have made us resilient and resourceful. We’re well versed in adapting to our environment, and becoming the world’s first carbon neutral city will enhance our adaptation ability.

What is the Carbon Neutral Adelaide boundary?

The Carbon Neutral Adelaide area follows the entire Adelaide City Council municipal area as outlined in the downloadable map.

What is the 'City of Adelaide’s Carbon Emissions'?

The City of Adelaide undertakes regular inventories of the greenhouse gas emissions for the Adelaide City Council area. This identifies where the key emissions come from. The city uses the global Greenhouse Gas Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories to undertake the inventory.

In 2013 the carbon emissions of the City of Adelaide were 939,532 tonnes. Emissions were primarily from energy use in buildings, transport and waste.




What is being decided?

To support the move to carbon neutrality, the Government of South Australia and the Adelaide City Council are developing the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Action Plan 2016-2020. The action plan will outline the current carbon emissions profile for the City of Adelaide, the key measures and pathways required for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the opportunities that exist for action and unlocking economic opportunities, as well as State Government and Adelaide City Council commitments.

The SA Government and Adelaide City Council want to work with all city users to achieve this ambitious goal. We want to hear from business, industry and people that live, work, study or visit the City of Adelaide about how we can work together to become carbon neutral.

How can my input influence the decision?

We want your input into the development of the Action Plan.

The plan will outline what actions need to be taken to achieve carbon neutrality for the City of Adelaide, how we can support everyone to take action and specific commitments of the South Australian Government and Adelaide City Council to achieve this task.

What does this mean? We want your input! We want to hear how as a city we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also make our city more liveable – it could be in our Park Lands, our Central Business District (CBD) as well as cultural, entertainment and recreation opportunities.

Opportunities for action are in the following six areas:

  1. How we can build partnerships and encourage community action 
  2. Improving energy efficiency in our buildings
  3. Working towards zero emissions transport
  4. Increasing renewable energy use
  5. Reducing waste emissions
  6. Offsetting carbon emissions

The City of Adelaide can only become carbon neutral if we all work together!

How will my input be used?

Your input will help inform the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Action Plan 2016-2020, which will be released later this year. Through this engagement opportunity, you can influence how South Australians respond to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the City of Adelaide.

The final Action Plan will be endorsed by the Government of South Australia and the Adelaide City Council.

This consultation is part of the Carbon Neutral Adelaide initiative to become the world’s first carbon neutral city.  There will be further opportunities for you to be involved as we progress, through specific programmes or projects like the Adelaide to Zero Carbon Challenge, the Sustainable City Incentive Scheme, CitySwitch and many others. 

How can I take part?

The Carbon Neutral Adelaide initiative is both an environmental imperative and an economic opportunity, and we want everyone to be involved!

View the Carbon Neutral Adelaide:  A shared vision for the world’s first carbon neutral city to understand what has happened so far with Carbon Neutral Adelaide.

You can take part by clicking on one of the online discussions.

The questions we are exploring are:
  • What would it take for the City of Adelaide to become carbon neutral?
  • What benefits would occur from the City of Adelaide being the first carbon neutral city?
  • What benefits could the City of Adelaide being carbon neutral bring to your business/ school/ service /institution?
  • What would you need to access to measure your contribution to a Carbon Neutral Adelaide?
  • What would help you to contribute to the City of Adelaide becoming carbon neutral?
Contact Information: For general enquiries, or if you would like to be further involved in the process, please email climatechange@sa.gov.au.

Also, we’ll be asking for your thoughts on how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a number of pop up stalls and cafes around Adelaide, so look out for us around the city in the coming weeks!