While we’ve all been tucked away inside, it might be easy to forget that there are still huge issues needing attention right outside our door.
Tweed Shire Council is stepping up its response to climate change by laying a firm policy foundation for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting the Tweed to the impacts of climate change.
Mayor of Tweed Councillor Katie Milne said the Tweed needed to respond to the climate emergency with the same sense of cooperation and urgency as it was responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Australians have responded to the COVID crisis with a new sense of shared responsibility that has been welcomed by all and has been highly successful,’ said Cr Milne.
‘We have learnt from this COVID-19 emergency that the consequences of not taking action means the loss of many more lives and much longer economic interruption. The same will be true for climate change if we don’t take our environment seriously.
These are testing times
Cr Milne said these are testing times and it’s understood that people are primarily thinking of protecting their family and their jobs in the face of COVID right now and that’s understandable. ‘Climate change is not taking a holiday during the pandemic so we need to deal with both emergencies.
‘We’ve seen the world come together to make significant sacrifices for COVID-19, so I truly believe we can make the changes needed to reduce the impacts of climate change.
‘Many of the changes will be for the better. We will have a less polluted world and much cleaner energy industries to work in,’ she said.
The draft policy provides information about Council’s role as a community leader in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and assisting the community to do the same.
Policy developed to acknowledge that the global climate is changing
The policy was developed to acknowledge that the global climate is changing and Council is working hard to show leadership in this space.
Council already is planning for and adapting to the impacts of climate change as well as doing its bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by working toward its 100 per cent renewable energy target. In June, Council will consider a report on the options and implications (including costs) of accelerating its efforts to respond to the climate emergency declaration.
Climate change will impact many facets of life
‘The reality is that the effects of climate change will impact many facets of life, including Council operations, the community, the economy and our environment,’ Cr Milne said.
‘The draft policy includes the proposal for Council to work towards an aspirational target to reach net zero emissions from its operations by 2030. We know this is ambitious but we also know that if we don’t take action, the consequences could be serious.’
On 19 September 2019, Council declared its position as being in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including local councils.
A turning point
‘Council’s climate emergency declaration was a turning point, however, Council has been working hard to do our bit to respond to the challenges of climate change as part of our Renewable Energy Action Plan, including installing rooftop solar at 15 Council facilities and energy efficiency improvements in streetlights, wastewater treatment and heating/ventilation systems,’ Cr Milne said.
‘At its core, the development of the draft Climate Change Policy – Net Zero by 2030 is about Council’s efforts to protect our community and economy and preserve the Tweed’s internationally significant environment,’ she said.
Check out what climate change means for the Tweed and how you can do your bit to work toward net zero by 2030 at www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/climatechange or have your say by completing the submission form online at www.yoursaytweed.com.au/climatechange. To make a submission in hard copy, contact Council on 02 6670 2400 and a form will be mailed to you.
Council welcomes community feedback and formal submissions on the draft policy until Monday 18 May 2020.