Byron Shire has become the first NSW council to declare a climate emergency.
Cr Cate Coorey introduced the motion and referring to other Australian councils following Darebin's lead. The motion passed by the council on 18 October 2018 is as follows:
1. That Council:
a) notes the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);
b) notes the Federal government’s latest emissions data showing we are increasing, not reducing our carbon emissions;
c) declares that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including by local councils, and
d) acknowledges that Byron Shire is likely to be substantially affected by climate impacts, particularly sea level rise, bushfires, drought and floods.
2. That the recommendation be added to the Agenda of the upcoming Sustainable Emission Reduction Advisory Committee meeting for their input to convene a community-led Climate Emergency Guidance Group that provides a report as to how Council may assist;
3. That the Guidance Group develops a Shire-wide Community Climate Emergency Plan to further enhance resilience and reduce climate impacts in a timeframe that is as fast as practicably possible;
4. That Council, calls upon the State and Federal Governments to:
a) declare a climate emergency, and
b) to back this up with legislated programs to drive emergency action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the lower of the Paris Agreements at 1.5%
5. That Council writes to the Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, the Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Ben Franklin, the Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, the NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton and the Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price, advising them of Council’s resolution and urges them to acknowledge a climate emergency and to act with urgency to address the crisis.
6. That Council encourages neighbouring Local Government Areas to join with us by declaring a climate emergency, developing their own Climate Emergency Plans and advocating to State and Federal governments as per point (5).
The declaration is covered in the local paper here.