City of Sydney councillors have voted to declare that climate change poses a serious risk to the people of Sydney and should be treated as a national emergency.
In a Lord Mayoral Minute, Lord Mayor Clover Moore asked Council 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, and establishing a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find appropriate alternate employment.
"Successive federal governments have shamefully presided over a climate disaster, and now we are at a critical juncture - we face a climate emergency," the Lord Mayor said.
"Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have increased for four consecutive years. It is clear that the current federal government's policies are simply not working and I call on Council to declare a climate emergency and step up our efforts to hold the federal government to account.
"On 24 January this year, 91 of the hottest 100 places on earth were in Australia. Heat waves on our continent are not only five times more likely, but they start earlier, last longer, and are hotter than ever before.
"With 96 percent of NSW still drought-affected, our farmers and rural communities are being decimated by drought, suffering from water shortages and extended bushfire seasons, and witnessing unprecedented fish kills and the death of once mighty river systems."
The Lord Mayoral Minute outlined the City of Sydney's action on climate change since 2007, and commits to accelerate this work in the development of its strategic plan to 2050.
"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.
"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. In 2020, we will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, allowing us to meet our 2030 target by 2024 - six years early."
According to the International Climate Emergency Forum, over 600 jurisdictions in 13 countries have now declared a climate emergency. The Climate Emergency Declaration campaign in Australia is supported by over 50 climate action groups, including the International Climate Emergency Forum, Extinction Rebellion, and Greenpeace Australia.
More than 110,000 people have signed a petition on change.org calling on Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison to declare a climate emergency and act accordingly.
The full Lord Mayoral Minute is available at https://meetings.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/documents/s30506/Our%20Response%20to%20the%20Climate%20Emergency.pdf
A full list of City of Sydney climate actions and flagship sustainability programs is available at https://www.clovermoore.com.au/climate_actions
For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Julia Lenton. Phone 0410 748 039 or email firstname.lastname@example.org