Climate change is an emergency

Bass Coast Shire Councillors have resolved that climate change poses a serious threat and should be treated as an emergency.

A motion was carried at last Wednesday’s Ordinary Council Meeting and will see Council develop a Bass Coast Climate Change Action Plan 2020-30, to set out how Bass Coast Shire can more effectively contribute to climate change mitigation and be more resilient and well adapted to the effects of a changing climate.

It will also include a target of zero net emissions by 2030 across Council operations as well as the wider community.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, said while Council’s Natural Environment Strategy, adopted in 2016, recognises climate change, this declaration goes one step further.

“The use of the term ’emergency’ is a way of signalling the need to go far beyond business as usual,” Cr Tessari said.

“We’re going to develop a 10-year action plan to help us target zero net emissions by 2030 and deal with some of the risks.

“We’ll also support our community by continuing to advocate to State and Federal Governments for stronger actions on their part and a more collaborative, strategic approach.

“This declaration puts us in line with 35 other local governments in Australia who have also formally acknowledged the ongoing threat of climate change.”

Cr Tessari said it was important to recognise that Bass Coast has already taken steps towards reducing emissions.

“The introduction of the 3-bin system has resulted in an overall 77 per cent reduction in kerbside waste going to landfill,” Cr Tessari said.

“Our Council Plan commits us to increasing vegetation cover by 1.5 per cent each year and we’ve been a leader in developing and delivering the Biodiversity Biolinks Plan. In 2018, 397,500 plants were planted in identified biolinks across the Shire.

“We have also installed over 150 kilowatts of solar panels on Council buildings, with more to come.”

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