At its meeting on 19th September, Tweed Shire Council adopted a motion put by the Mayor, Katie Milne, to declare a Climate Emergency.
Speeches addressing this motion were made in the Public Forum by Jasmine Cook, a member of Council’s “Youth Advisory Committee”; and by Barry Firth, a member of CEC.
The motion was adopted with a majority of 4 votes to 3, but the three Councillors who voted against the motion did not speak, so we don’t know on what basis they were opposed to it.
Adoption of a Climate Emergency Declaration imposes new priorities for action and new reporting requirements for Council, so it should have a real impact.
The full text of the mayor’s motion is reproduced below. For those interested, it makes very good reading!
7 [NOM-Cr K Milne] Climate Emergency Declaration
NOTICE OF MOTION:
Councillor K Milne moves that Council:
1. Declares that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including by local councils.
2. Notes that on 14 August 2019 Council’s Youth Advisory Committee proposed that Youth Council, as a group, recommend that Council declare a ‘Climate Crisis’. As this proposal was made during an informal session of the meeting such a recommendation could not be made. All members of the committee asked that this be noted with consideration being given to presenting at a future Community Access meeting.
3. Notes that our young people have the most at stake as they are the ones that will face the worst impacts of climate change if this is not addressed rapidly and effectively.
4. Supports the Schools Strike for Climate on the 20th September that is calling on adults to join them in the strike, and notes Council staff where practical are able to use leave entitlements if they wish to attend.
5. Notes that 45 other Australian Local Councils have declared a Climate Emergency, along with 987 government bodies around the world.
6. Notes Tweed’s 2017 Flood was the largest on record, and the two recent major fires that have burnt hundreds of hectares of Tweed’s bushland.
7. Notes last year’s IPCC report that global emissions of carbon dioxide must peak by 2020 and reduce by 45% by 2030 to keep the planet below 1.5?C increase.
8. Notes that even at 1.5?C increase there will be significant climate disruptions including the Great Barrier Reef predicted to lose 90% of its coral and the outlook for the reef now classified as very poor.
9. Notes the recent advice by Sir David Attenborough on Climate Change that “We cannot be radical enough in dealing with the issues that face us at the moment”.
10. Notes the numerous positive steps available to address this Climate Emergency if public and political will is mobilised.
11. Notes that the fastest and second fastest growing jobs in America are solar technicians (300,000 solar jobs) followed by wind power technicians, with the coal industry providing only 50,000 jobs.
12. Notes its commitment to reporting on and reducing emissions through the Global Climate Change Compact and the Cities Power Partnership.
13. Notes its Renewable Energy Action Plan target of 25% renewable energy by 2022 and 50% by 2025, and Council’s zero waste target is a great start but does not account for all Council’s emissions such as transport, buildings and infrastructure emission.
14. Brings back a report on actions Council is currently undertaking to address climate change and further steps that can be taken to reduce emissions to levels at least consistent with IPCC targets, and provides this report to the Youth Council for their input.
15. Includes advice in all reports to Council meetings on the implications for sustainability from the staff recommendations.
16. Requests the Mayor to write to the NSW State and Federal Governments and local Members of parliament requesting them to declare a climate emergency and prioritise actions to address this emergency.
17. Through the Mayor encourages neighbouring Local Government Areas to join with us in declaring a climate emergency.