After declaring a Climate Emergency and rejecting the council's previous Climate Change Action Plan, Darebin Council has now released its new draft Climate Emergency Plan for public comment.
The draft plan has had significant input from Climate Emergency campaigners in Darebin including Philip Sutton from RSTI (Research and Strategy for Transition Initiation Inc.) and Adrian Whitehead from CACE and is a significant improvement on earlier drafts.
CACE will be developing a critique of the current draft shortly to assist the community with their feedback. Community which can be made online or a one of the public forums.
Darebin Councillor Susan Rennie successful got the following motion passed at Victoria's Municipal Association of Victoria state council. The council voted The forum in favour of the motion 77% to 23%.
Motion 56. Climate Change
Submitting Council: Darebin City Council
Motion: That the MAV recognise that:
(a) we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including local councils
(b) human induced climate change stands in the first rank of threats to humans, civilisation and other species
(c) it is still possible to restore a safe climate and prevent most of the anticipated long-term climate impacts – but only if societies across the world adopt an emergency mode of action that can enable the restructuring of the physical economy at the necessary scale and speed;
(d) the MAV has a particular role in assisting local governments in this regard.
Ms Kerry Echberg of YCAN (Yarra Climate Action Now) at the Yarra Council meeting of the 21st of February demanded that the City of Yarra follow up their climate emergency declaration with real action.
Ms Echberg said "First of all, on behalf of YCAN I'd like to thank and congratulate Council and Councillors for supporting the declaration. We know that Yarra has, for a long time, been committed to reducing emissions in the city, and has taken many important actions to achieve a sustainable Yarra. We also know that we have entered a new phase in the battle for our planet, with 2016 being the hottest year on record, after several of the previous year’s having had that 'honour'.
So recognition of Climate Emergency is no longer enough: Councils, along with every level of government, must develop stronger policies and actions to attempt to deal with the problem and to protect the community, particularly its most vulnerable members, from the impacts already present. Each Council policy must be based on its effect on climate change.
My question is, how will you develop a climate emergency program based on the latest scientific research and with targets and budgets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which will reduce exacerbation of the disaster and protects the municipality, for your term of office and into the future?" (See council minutes page 7.)
Yarra Council became the first council to follow Darebin Council's lead and declared a climate emergency in their meeting on the 7th of February.
"Council recognises that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including by local councils." Moved: Councillor McEvoy Seconded: Councillor Coleman (See page 13 of revised minutes)
Well done Yarra Council!
At their first meeting on December the 5th 2016, at the urging of local climate groups, the newly elected councillors declared a climate emergency at their very first meeting. The motion was "Council recognises that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including by local councils." MOVED: Cr. Trent McCarthy SECONDED: Cr. Steph Amir - Link to original minutes (see 2016, December 5th, Minutes, p.46).
Critical to this occurring was the combined efforts of a number of groups over more than four years, including Save the Planet who ran climate emergency candidates in the area at each Local, State and Federal election and Darebin Climate Action Now who ran the local Climate Emergency Declaration campaign.
Probably most importantly was that a group of progressive councillors were elected who were willing to discuss the climate emergency and understand that it is one of the most serious threats that faces humanity, and then instead of putting it in the too hard basket chose to take a leadership position of global significance.
Luck also played its part when Adrian Whitehead from StP and CACE bumped into Cr Trent McCarthy in the council car park and discussed putting a climate emergency declaration into a motion he was proposing at their first council meeting rather than sometime later.