Byron Shire Council declares a State of Climate Emergency

Published on 24 October 2018

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Byron Shire Council has declared a State of Climate Emergency in response to the latest emissions figures and the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is urging other Northern Rivers councils to add their voices to the chorus calling for action on climate change.

Councillor Cate Coorey said that the fact the Federal Government’s latest emissions data showed the nation’s carbon emissions are increasing is a major cause for concern. (For more information see this link.)

“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.

“In a shire like Byron that will mean sea level rise and a likely increase in floods, droughts, fires and extreme weather events such as damaging storms,” Cr Coorey said.

“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.

“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 are already doing this sort of work and others are moving to do the same around the country.

“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.

For more information contact Cr Cate Coorey on 0402 315 345 or email cate.coorey@cr.byron.nsw.gov.au.