Council and the Climate Emergency

The Climate Emergency

Climate change presents an immediate and significant risk to all life on earth, and requires urgent action to avoid the risk and its associated impacts. With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identifying that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees is required to mitigate against the worst effects of climate change (Climate Report 2018 and Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees), while also noting that based on current trajectories, this 1.5 degree threshold could be reached as soon as 2030, there is a clear and urgent need to address climate change.   

The term “climate emergency” reflects our global situation, where urgent action is required to reduce climate change and avoid the potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from climate change.

Similar to other emergency situations, there are two corresponding components to the Climate Emergency:

  1. The situation: the rapidly increasing occurrences of changing weather patterns and global warming caused by human activity.
  2. The response: the need to mobilise action on climate change at a large scale and at a rapid speed.

A campaign to highlight the need for urgent action on climate change at all levels of government through Declarations of Climate Emergency was initiated at a forum of local Climate Action Networks held in Melbourne in September 2016. There are now over 2,000 jurisdictions globally who have made a declaration. Over 100 are in Australia (including the government of the Australian Capital Territory), representing over 9 million people. 

Declaration by Council

Council joined over 30 councils in Victoria and almost 100 councils across Australia in passing a motion at its Council Meeting on 24 March 2021 to declare a Climate Emergency.

The declaration recognises the urgent need to address the causes and impacts of climate change across all aspects of Council’s operations, and in its work with the community. 

It provides a core principle and policy basis for Council’s corporate planning and decision making, and also sends a message to the wider the community that climate change is the key priority to address in all sectors of society.

A petition of 405 signatures, submitted by the Macedon Ranges Climate Emergency Declaration Coalition was accepted at the same council meeting, indicating good community support for Council taking steps to address climate change. 

Council action on climate change

Click image below to enlarge. The information contained in this infographic is also provided in text format in the sections below.

Counting Down to Zero by 2030 Plan

Council's Counting Down to Zero Plan targets zero net emissions by 30 June 2030, outlining more than 30 recommended actions for Council to reduce, avoid or offset its existing emissions while also influencing key stakeholders to do the same.

These actions include phasing out the use of gas in favour of more efficient energy sources, embedding sustainable initiatives into the design and construction of projects, and replacing redundant Council passenger vehicles with electric alternatives.  


Since 2016, Council has installed a total of approximately 380kW of roof top solar arrays over 17 of its buildings, reducing emissions by over 500 tonnes CO2-e / year. 

Council also aims to reduce energy consumption through improving the environmental performance of its buildings as circumstances allow, through installing LEDs, upgrading heating and cooling systems, sourcing energy efficient appliances when renewing assets, and conducting audits to identify key opportunities for future works. 


From 2017 to 2019, Council converted 2,548 streetlights in residential areas to energy efficient LEDs. This investment reduced emissions from streetlights by approximately 755 tonnes CO2-e / year. It also provides ongoing savings to council, in both consumption and operational and maintenance costs.

In 2021, commenced replacing streetlights on major roads (where costs are shared with VicRoads) to energy efficient LEDs, as part of a regional project coordinated by the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA) aimed at further reducing emissions from public lighting and providing ongoing operational savings to councils. The project was completed in early 2023, and has allowed Council to reduce emissions from its operations by an additional 75 tonnes CO2-e / year.   

Ten decorative lights will be replaced with suitable energy efficient lamps by June 2023, completing the program for converting public lighting throughout the shire to be as efficient as possible. 

More information about this regional project can be found at CVGA Lighting the Region Major Roads.


Council aims to replace passenger fleet vehicles with hybrid vehicles wherever possible, and to source fuel efficient fit-for-purpose vehicles and machinery. The trial and introduction of electric vehicles into Council’s fleet will occur as circumstances allow. 

As a partner in a regional project coordinated by the CVGA, Council is also working to support the community in transitioning to electric vehicles, through the installation of charging stations. Two fast-charging stations were installed in mid-2021, in Kyneton and Woodend. More information about the regional project can be found CVGA Charging the Regions, from where you can view a short video explaining the benefits of the project. Council will work to install charging stations in other towns across the shire as resources allows. 

Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO)

Since 1 July 2021, Council has been sourcing its electricity requirements through a Power Purchase Agreement, titled the Victorian Energy Collaboration or VECO. Buying electricity in the form of Large Generation Certificates (LGCs)  allows Council to claim 100% emissions reduction for its electricity consumption, meaning that from 1 July 2021, Council’s main emission sources will be gas used at buildings and fuel used for fleet and plant.  

About VECO

VECO, led by Darebin City Council in Melbourne’s north, provides 45 per cent of all Victorian councils’ electricity requirements with 100 per cent renewables, reducing greenhouse emissions by 260,000 tonnes of C02-e every year. Provided by Red Energy, the 240GWh of clean power is equivalent to powering 48,000 homes with renewables or removing the emissions from 90,000 cars every year.

Initiated by and facilitated with the Victorian Greenhouse Alliances, VECO recognises the benefits of renewable energy for the environment and the economy.

The ground-breaking project will reduce each council’s current energy bills, and reduce electricity prices by using clean renewable energy generated right here in Victoria.

VECO is expected to save councils up to 35 per cent on their electricity bills, based on current costs. This will vary across councils, based on energy needs.

VECO is expected to save Macedon Ranges Shire Council over 40 per cent each year on electricity bills, based on costs in current contracts.

By joining the project, Macedon Ranges Shire Council will source its electricity needs for council-operated buildings, public lighting and markets through renewable energy generators. This reduces emissions from Council’s operations by approximately 3,385 tonnes CO2-e / year.

This emissions reduction equates to powering 620 houses with renewable energy, or taking 1,170 internal combustion engine cars off the road each year.

Red Energy will provide 240 GWh of electricity per year to the 46 councils in the VECO purchasing group over a period of 9.5 years, beginning 1 July 2021. Owned by Snowy Hydro, Red Energy is a 100 per cent Australian owned and operated energy retailer based in Melbourne. 

The renewable energy will be provided by two wind farms in Victoria – Dundonnell wind farm near Mortlake, which started exporting power to the grid in March 2020, and Murra Warra II wind farm near Horsham, which commenced construction September 2020 and will be fully operational by June 2022.

Both wind farms have and will continue to deliver economic benefits to the regions during construction and ongoing operation, and form an important part of state, regional and local economic development.

More information about the venture can be found at VECO.

Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance

Council is a member of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA), a network of 13 local government councils in central and northwest Victoria, working together to address climate change.

Led by an executive officer, the CVGA develops projects to reduce emissions, then sources funds and shares costs to implement projects, such as the Transport and Streetlights projects.

The CVGA also advocates for climate and energy policy, and facilitates knowledge sharing. More information can be found at CVGA.

Climate pledge programs

Council resolved to join the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership program at its meeting on 22 September 2021.  

The program provides a platform for member councils to publicly pledge to take action on climate change, in the areas of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Transport, and Collaboration.

The program also helps to build momentum in climate action and promote the collective impact of action by local councils more widely. 

Council’s pledge can be viewed at its member profile page at Macedon Ranges Shire - Cities Power Partnership.

Council extension programs

Council also provides targeted information to guide residents in living more sustainably.

Practical Regenerative Agricultural Communities

The Practical Regenerative Agricultural Communities program promotes regenerative farming practices, through providing information resources, hosting field days and webinars, and facilitating peer support. The holistic approach to regenerative farming enables improvement in soil health, biodiversity and productivity, and helps reduce emissions through storing carbon in soil.  

The project is being delivered as a partnership between Council, Hepburn Shire Council, the City of Greater Bendigo, A Healthy Coliban Catchment project (North Central Catchment Management Authority and Coliban Water), Melbourne Water and the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network.

Sustainable Design

In 2019 Council engaged a Sustainable Design Officer to develop information resources and host workshops about sustainable building design.

Our Sustainable Design page has more information and fact sheets explaining the principles of climate responsive design.