Ballina Shire Council is set to join Lismore and Byron councils in divesting its investments from financial institutions that support fossil fuels.
Ballina councillors yesterday backed a motion from Cr Jeff Johnson for the council to join the Divestment from Fossil Fuels campaign.
‘With the Paris talks about to start it is timely for Ballina Council to join a growing list of organisations who are aligning their investments with their values,’ Cr Johnson said.
‘This step is more than symbolic. Ballina currently has over $70 million invested with financial institutions.
‘If all councils took this step then we’d be talking billions of dollars. Now the big four banks would need to start considering whether it’s in their best interests to fund new coal and gas projects.’
Cr Johnson said there was a growing consensus that all Governments needed to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to stay below the critical limit of 2 degrees warming.
‘It is highly appropriate for Ballina Council to take a leadership role in this matter due to our location in a low lying coastal floodplain.
‘Sea level rise and global warming are expected to have a devastating impact on our community unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced over the next 10-20 years.
‘By divesting our investments from institutions that fund the activities that are likely to exacerbate global warming, Ballina Council will not only be taking a positive leadership role but in doing so would be encouraging other council’s and institutions to also follow suit.
Cr Johnson will be a speaker at the Lismore Climate Action Rally on Saturday.
‘I’ll be outlining my vision for a 100 per cent renewable energy future, and how it is possible to achieve that within 10-15 years,’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Greens candidate for Richmond, Dawn Walker, has called on the government to commit to bold climate targets at the Paris climate talks.
‘In the wake of devastating South Australian fires, 2015 is predicted to be the hottest year on record,’ she said.
‘Climate change impacts are acutely being felt in Australia. Whether it’s the South Australian bushfires, 80 per cent of Queensland in drought, or freak storms, extreme weather will increase with a warming climate.
‘Our coastal towns and low lying areas like Byron Bay, Belongil, Ballina, New Brighton and Lennox Head are at the forefront of stronger storm surges and devastating cyclones.
‘Our agricultural industries depend upon reliable supplies of water, and extreme weather events risk crops failing and increased diseases.
‘Australia must take bold action to limit carbon dioxide emissions. We call on the government to adopt the necessary target of 1.5°C. This is what science says is required to protect our health, our environment and the global economy. Already more than 100 countries have made this call,” concluded Ms Walker.
Ms Walker will be speaking at the Byron Bay Climate rally this Sunday 29 November, Railway Park, 10-12.