Climate crisis outlined in report to Bega Valley Shire councillors


The Amazon fires follow on from fires in the Arctic over the last few months. Images of primates grieving their homes in the Amazon have been hard to see. Climate change is already causing massive suffering, displacement and dislocation around the world. Images courtesy NASA.

The Bega Valley Shire Council will be asked to consider the effect of its decision-making on the climate at tomorrow's council meeting.

The climate emergency declaration motion before the Bega Valley Shire Councillors asks for Council’s Climate Resilience Strategy to recognise the climate emergency, through the strength, scope and immediacy of initiatives for Council and the community to combat climate change.

A second part of the motion calls for reports to Council on relevant strategies, plans or initiatives to include assessment of potential climate change impacts.

The background to the motion, put up by Greens councillor Cathy Griff after a community push, says that warnings to humanity have been issued by 21,000 scientists from 184 countries and says a 45 per cent reduction in CO2 levels from 2010 levels is needed by 2030 to have a reasonable chance of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees. 

Emissions are continuing to increase worldwide, including in Australia, with greenhouse gases and loss of forests which are crucial carbon sinks and produce oxygen two of the major contributors. 

The report says climate change "threatens human and animal health (through extreme summer temperatures; it  means more frequent and severe bushfires; southward spread of tropical diseases); decreased food security, declining soil quality; massive animal and insect extinction; changing distribution of coastal fisheries, and other threats to aquaculture) and will affect public and Council assets with sea level rise and storm surges on coastal roads, wharves, bridges, buildings, the airport, and water treatment plants."

Over 30 councils across Australia have voted to declare a climate emergency in their shires so far. The Eurobodalla Council voted down a climate emergency declaration at its last meeting.