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Australian cities declare climate emergency

Hobart and Sydney become the latest cities to pass such a declaration and are calling on the federal government to take rapid action.

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Hobart City Council passed its declaration by eight votes to three
Hobart City Council passed its declaration by eight votes to three

The cities of Hobart and Sydney are the first two Australian capitals to declare climate emergencies.

 

Hobart City Council passed its declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency by eight votes to three, while Sydney’s passed by nine votes to zero.

 

Brimbank City Council, within Melbourne, also declared a state of climate emergency announcing it will prepare a climate emergency plan outlining how the council will react.

 

Global movement

 

Globally, more than 600 jurisdictions have passed similar declarations including the cities of Auckland, London, Vancouver and New York City, which became the biggest municipality in the US to do so last week. In passing the legislation, the city council called for “an immediate emergency mobilisation to restore a safe climate”.

 

A motion proposed by four Victoria and New South Wales councils and approved at the Alga National General Assembly called on the federal government to declare an emergency and create a $10bn fund to help local councils build the resilience of their communities.

 

“Acknowledging that you have a really strategic problem for the future is more than symbolic, it’s about recognising that this issue is going to affect our operations and our community is incredibly concerned about the impact of climate change on the future of our city,” said Anna Reynolds, mayor of Hobart.

 

Sydney councillors endorsed a proposal which urged rapid action from the federal government, including money to help people working in fossil fuel industries to find alternative jobs.

“We know the transition to renewables and a low carbon economy can be achieved, because countries all across the world are doing it successfully – it just takes leadership”

“By declaring a climate emergency, we call on the Federal Government to respond urgently, by reintroducing a price on carbon to meet the Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets,” tweeted Clover Moore, mayor of Sydney.

 

“We also call on the Government to establish a just transition authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find appropriate alternate employment.”

 

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government Legislative Assembly declared a climate emergency in May, the first Australian parliament to do so.

 

The city of Sydney became Australia’s first carbon-neutral council in 2007, and as of June 2017, claims to have reduced emissions by 25 per cent through actions such as the installation of solar panels, LED lights, tri-generation, and a Tesla battery trial.

 

“In 2020, we will transition to 100 per cent renewable energy, allowing us to meet our 2030 target in 2024 – six years early,” added Moore.

 

“We know the transition to renewables and a low carbon economy can be achieved, because countries all across the world are doing it successfully – it just takes leadership.”

 

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