chapter  10
18 Pages

Newcastle, New South Wales: win–win solutions for climate protection?

During the 1990s, Newcastle City Council became the leading local authority in Australia with respect to local action on climate change. Newcastle is the second largest city in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and part of the Greater Sydney metropolitan region. Like other cities around the world based on manufacturing, coal and port activities, it has undergone several recessions in the last two decades, during which many traditional industries have closed and unemployment has grown. In trying to re-invent itself for the post-industrial world, Newcastle has concentrated on selling its place in the Hunter Valley, a world-renowned wine-making region, as a tourist destination in its own right. Towards this end, considerable effort has been spent on re-developing downtown areas, with an emphasis on the preservation of heritage and the promotion of a new service economy. Central to this process of re-invention has been the need to escape from the image of Newcastle as a declining, dirty industrial town, which suffered from comparison with its more glamorous neighbour, Sydney (Stevenson 1999), towards a new ‘clean and green’ city, on the cutting edge of the development of sustainable technologies. The first section of this chapter describes how climate protection policy evolved in Newcastle and the Council’s role in the initiation of the national CCP programme in Australia. We then turn to examine how measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases have been implemented in Newcastle in the wake of the CCP-Australia programme. We argue that although the Council has been successful in addressing its own emissions of greenhouse gases, the challenges faced in implementing climate protection measures across the city remain considerable. By way of conclusion, we consider the importance of the CCP programme in the development of local initiatives to address climate change in Newcastle, and the implications of our findings for understanding global environmental governance.