In a bittersweet ‘win’ last night at the Lismore Council meeting a motion was unanimously passed to declare a planetary Climate Emergency.
Councillor Elly Bird’s motion asked that Council publicly declare the world is in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government; that human-induced climate change represents one of the greatest threats to humanity, civilisation, other species, and the life-supporting capacity of air, water, soil and ecosystems; and that it is possible to prevent the most harmful outcomes if societies take sustained emergency action, including local councils
Lismore City Council LGA is likely to be substantially affected by climate impacts
Notes on the motion included that Lismore City Council LGA is likely to be substantially affected by climate impacts, particularly floods, bushfires, drought, heatwaves and sea level rise, and that Council acknowledges that agriculture is one of the leading industries in Lismore, and that it is at risk from climate change; and that Council also acknowledges that the Northern Rivers region is facing significant impacts from sea-level rise.
The motion asked that Council – reaffirms commitment to its 100% Renewable Energy Target and continues to actively pursue opportunities to meet this target; calls for a briefing on how the current Community Strategic Plan (CSP) addresses the climate emergency; maintains strong partnerships with local Emergency Services and seeks funding opportunities to work with them to deliver disaster preparedness information and initiatives across the LGA and writes to the Member for Page, the Member for Lismore, the Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, the Federal Environment Minister, and the NSW Environment Minister advising them of Council’s resolution and urging them to acknowledge a climate emergency and to act to address the crisis.
We are tracking for a minimum of 1.5 degrees increase in global temperatures
During the meeting, Cr Bird said that if we carry on as we are now, with no reduction in emissions, we are tracking for a minimum of 1.5 degrees increase in global temperatures by somewhere between 2040 and 2050. ‘At 1.5 degrees, increases in extreme storms and the severity and regularity of droughts will occur.
After the motion was passed Cr Bird said she was very pleased that Lismore City Council has become the 33rd Council in Australia to declare a Climate Emergency.
‘The world is rapidly changing and we are seeing the impacts of Climate Change all around us,’ she said. ‘We need action at all levels of government, and local government has a significant role to play.
Of course, what would be even better is for our State and Federal Governments to recognise the fundamental truth of what is happening and act swiftly and decisively to transition our energy use from fossil fuels to renewables, and also to prepare our society for the impacts that are coming.
Sadly we know that they are slow to respond, and that they are beholden to the fossil fuel industry, so in the absence of their leadership Lismore City Council will continue to progress our 100% Renewable Energy Plan and we will also work to improve our Disaster Preparedness and Community Resilience.
Floods and heatwaves
‘We’ll see more floods and heatwaves, with resulting impacts on food production and access to clean safe drinking water,’ said Cr Bird.
‘We are seeing these impacts now. Right now, Tenterfield, Guyra, Armidale, Stanthorpe and Tamworth are running out of water.’
Cr Bird reminded councillors that worldwide, more than 600 million people live in areas that will be impacted by sea-level rise.
‘We have two options that we need to focus on: Reducing emissions and preparing for the impacts that are coming.
‘So, tonight, as well as joining the global call for Governments to declare a Climate Emergency and take appropriate action – this motion reinforces our commitment to our Renewable Energy Target, and our commitments to partnerships with our Emergency Services to increase our Community Disaster Preparedness.’
‘I encourage the whole community to stay active and to keep raising your voices on this important issue’.