More floods, droughts, fires, rising sea levels and extreme weather events are what the Byron Shire and North Coast have in store if greenhouse emissions are not significantly reduced. The Byron Shire Council has now declared a State of Climate Emergency and added its voice to the increasing chorus calling for action on climate change following the damning report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that has called for urgent action to phase out fossil fuels.
‘All the latest science is telling us we have a very short window to act before irreversible and catastrophic impacts from global warming start to take effect,’ said Byron Shire Councillor Cate Coorey.
‘Council has declared that we are in a state of climate emergency and that we need action by all levels of government,’ she said.
‘We may not be able to to have a direct impact on political decisions at the state and federal level but we can show some leadership locally and start taking action.
‘As a mother of two teenagers I am fearful of the kind of damaged planet that this generation is leaving for them and their children.
Climate Emergency Guidance Group
‘Council has decided to convene a community-led Climate Emergency Guidance Group that will develop a shire-wide Climate Emergency Plan to provide a framework for how we reduce climate impacts.
‘Our next step is to gather together the amazing people in this Shire who have the skills to help make this happen.
‘Byron needs to take action to build resilience and minimise the impacts of global warming and our community wants to be part of that action.’
Councils in Victoria, including Darebin, Moreland, Port Melbourne and Yarra have already begun working locally on reducing fossil fuel use and the broader impact go people on the environment and other councils around the country are beginning to take similar action.
‘Byron Shire Council has already taken great steps to reduce emissions and change the way we do business. This decision will bring in members of our community to work with us on a plan for action with pressing timeframes,’ Cr Coorey said.
‘Developing the plan is the first step, then we have to get cracking on doing what is in the plan,’ she said.
Council is writing to the NSW and federal governments advising them of what Byron Shire Council is doing and urging them to acknowledge a climate emergency and to act with urgency to address the crisis.
‘We are also urging our neighbour councils get on board as well and we will be contacting them asking them to develop their own Climate Emergency Plan,’ Cr Coorey said.
‘Reversing climate change may seem like an insurmountable problem but if every council, every community, every individual does their bit then at least we can say we have done something,’ she said.
The formation of the Climate Emergency Guidance Group will be discussed by the Sustainable Emission Reduction Advisory Committee when it meets on 25 October 2018.