How disappointing to read Geoff Helisma’s excellent and thorough article (CVI 5/12/12) re Clarence Valley Council’s meeting on November 20 and read that councillors were split on whether or not it was in CVC’s best interest to declare a climate emergency.
Councillors were considering a resolution of CVC’s Climate Change Advisory Committee to declare a Climate Emergency and push for greater action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A decision was made to defer a final decision on climate change until April 2019 because the word ‘emergency’ had scared staff and some councillors. One councillor even said “by deferring we will get advice on the business of declaring an emergency and if they find an emergency in the mean- time they will bring the issue forward to March 2019”.
Now I am no scientist (or councillor) but I have very recently read; the President of the Pacific island of Kiribati Anote Tong made the dire prediction that their island will be uninhabitable by 2050 or sooner because of intense flooding, erosion and loss of good crops because of global warming. They are building seawalls. This is an emergency. Thousands of school children marched this week to demand action on climate change as they see this as an emergency. Barry Jones (ex Science Minister) was quoted as saying we need strong action to mitigate climate change immediately and a huge factor in global warming is our reliance on coal for electricity. This is an emergency. One could go on and on.
All of our Councillors need to pay due diligence to this issue but surely it is not hard to get the scientific facts or read the real stories of how people are suffering because of climate change. No need to be afraid just be active, otherwise you will feel helpless. There is so much we can do to make a change and Councils have much power and influence.
Surely Council as policy makers need to be paying attention to our own Clarence Valley coast where many thousands of residences and properties are likely to be severely impacted by sea level rises in the not too distant future.