Weekly column by Kāpiti's Greater Wellington Regional Council representative Penny Gaylor.
Decarbonisation seems to be the word on everyone's lips at the moment.
The Climate Change Commission released its draft advice on how to curb emissions across the country, and the government pledged of $50 million towards electrification of public transport.
Across our council there is a sense that we are all "upping the ante" on our climate response.
Along with government support, there's a lot regional councils can do to help. Providing efficient, reliable and emissions-free public transport is a big one, and so is restoring wetlands and permanent native forests. Greater Wellington is doing both, and we are doing a good share of that in the Kāpiti Coast.
Greater Wellington Regional Council strongly supports the Government's increased focus and faster pace on climate change, and welcomes its pledge of $50 million towards decarbonisation of public transport.
Last night I was at the Waikanae Community Board to talk about public transport, and joined by my colleagues Cr Roger Blakeley, chair of our transport committee, and deputy chair of the transport committee Cr David Lee.
Roger recently commented that it feels like we're really beginning to up the ante on our climate response, with key decisions that show a clear direction on achieving significant reductions in emissions from the national transport fleet and more to come.
Across Wellington region, emissions are a key issue because while total emissions over the past two decades fell by around 5 per cent, our transport emissions grew by 14 per cent.
Roger adds, "GWRC has actively pursued a policy of transitioning from petrol and diesel buses to electric power. We are already committed to adding a further 98 electric buses which will boost our e-buses to 21 per cent of the Metlink fleet.
"But with support we can move faster, and we hope to quickly engage with the Government on how its new fund can speed the pace of transition."
There's certainly agreement around the council table on faster transitioning to electric public transport, and for example the train replacements that service the Ōtaki community. The upcoming Long Term Plan will be an opportunity to test that with the Kāpiti Coast community and right across the Wellington region.
The Government's timeline for bus decarbonisation follows Greater Wellington's work under its comprehensive climate change strategy, which was developed last year following its declaration of a climate emergency. The strategy set a target with the objective of taking the council's operation to carbon positivity by 2035, based on two ten-point action plans that supplement our earlier 2015 Climate Change Strategy.