The Bellingen Shire Council last night voted to declare a ‘climate emergency’.
By the Editor
The Coffs Coast Climate Action Group (CCAG) declared it’s support stating that it was if one was “looking for leadership from local council then this is what it looks like.
The CCAG went on to thank the Councillors who voted this for the motion on Wednesday 27 March and to those who worked to bring it into being.
The CCAG also added on their Facebook page that gallery was full of support from the community too.
This action strategy is promoted by an international group called Council Action in the Climate Emergency (CACE) who argue that by declaring a climate emergency that includes a call for immediate and urgent action to reverse global warming, a council can add its voice to over 300 councils worldwide who have already declared a climate emergency.
CACE also argues Councils are also uniquely placed to:
- Educate on the climate emergency using existing or low cost communication channels, while building support for a broader climate emergency response at the state, national and international levels
- Mitigation – reduce emissions and drawdown previous emissions
- Build community resilience against some global warming impacts.
Populations covered by governments that have declared a climate emergency now exceed 36 million citizens in four English-speaking countries and Switzerland, with 20 million of these living in the United Kingdom. Prominent climate activists suchas environme3ntalists, activist and journalis Bill McKibben have supported the initiative.
The following is a list of Councils worldwide who have declared the emergency:
Australia: 15 since December 2016 – 5 in Victoria, 2 in WA, 5 in NSW, and 3 in SA (in addition, the state associations for local councils in Victoria and Western Australia have passed Climate Emergency motions)
USA: 14 since November 2017 – 1 in New Jersey, 1 in Maryland, 11 in California, and 1 in Connecticut
Canada: 326 since August 2018 – 318 in Quebec, 4 in British Columbia, 2 in Nova Scotia, 1 in New Brunswick, and 1 in Ontario
UK: 65 since November 2018 – 57 in England, 6 in Wales, 1 in Scotland, and 1 in Northern Ireland
Switzerland: 3 since February 2019
As part of the declaration Councils must show a commitment to a democratic and concerted climate emergency response. CACE argues this is a powerful source of hope in an otherwise frightening situation. Councils must commit to;
- Set up an expert body to develop a Climate Emergency Plan. The task of the expert body is to thoroughly plan the most effective measures for a rapid transition from climate-damaging activities and for draw down of excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, to investigate whether there are any safe cooling techniques, and to oversee implementation of the plan.
- Ban new climate-damaging projects and processes in the spheres under federal jurisdiction (exports, aviation, shipping, defence, etc) either as a first step in the Climate Emergency Plan or via federal-level No More Bad Investments (NMBI) legislation.
- Allocate the financial resources necessary to implement the Climate Emergency Plan.
- Organise public education and consultation to foster broad engagement and encourage participation in climate-beneficial measures, giving particular attention to breaking the fossil fuel industry myths used to create a false sense of benefit from and dependency on new fossil fuel projects.
- Lobby other national and sub-national governments to declare a Climate Emergency and develop comprehensive climate emergency plans.
In Australia they must urge the following urgent first steps at federal level;
- Immediately ban all NEW fossil fuel export agreements. This is urgently necessary because continuing to allow new multi-year export agreements would lock in dangerous quantities of greenhouse gas emissions for many years to come. Banning new fossil fuel exports would have minimal impact on Australia’s economy.
- Immediately ban all NEW offshore oil and gas projects in Commonwealth waters. (State/territory governments can ban new onshore fossil fuel projects, but Commonwealth waters are under federal jurisdiction.)