City of Sydney councillors have voted to declare that climate change should be treated as a national emergency.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore asked the council Monday night to call on the Federal Government to respond urgently to the emergency, by reintroducing a price on carbon to meet the Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets.
In 2007, the City of Sydney revealed its long-term strategic plan, Sustainable Sydney 2030, in which 97 per cent of residents said they wanted strong climate action.
“We set a goal to reduce our emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and following the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, we set a more ambitious goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050”, the Lord Mayor said.
The council is also calling on the Federal Government to establish a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find appropriate alternate employment.
“We became Australia’s first carbon neutral council in 2007, and as of June 2017, we’d reduced emissions in our own operations by 25 per cent, Ms Moore said.
“In 2020, we will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, allowing us to meet our 2030 target by 2024 – six years early.”
The Climate Council’s chief executive Amanda McKenzie said Sydney’s declaration – which the City Council is expected to easily approve – underlined “just how serious the climate change issue is.”
“It is a genuine crisis,” she said. “Sydney has responded in an appropriate way.”
Earlier this year, a group of Australian councils declared a ‘climate emergency’ after a UN report warned urgent, widespread action was needed to prevent the two degrees Celsius temperature increase that could tip the planet into catastrophic global warming.