Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Climate change: Local governments in denial

Thames is on the front line of climate change. The town already suffers from coastal flooding, and in the event of even modest sea-level rise, half of it will be underwater every spring. And just this week they were in the news for (finally) sticking a flood warning notice on a coastal development they should never have allowed in the first place. So its a bit shocking to see this morning's news that the local council is refusing to sign up to a local government climate change declaration:

A push to get local authorities to sign up to a declaration on climate change is "politically charged and driven", the Thames-Coromandel mayor says.

Fifty-five councils have signed up to the Local Government Leaders' Climate Change Declaration. It states there is an urgent need to address the threats of climate change.

It states councils will commit to plans to reduce greenhouse gases, promote walking, public transport, increase resource efficiency, and commit to renewable energy and electric vehicles.

Yesterday members of the public presented to the Thames Coromandel District Council meeting, urging it to sign up to the declaration. It will be voted on by councillors at a later meeting.

However, mayor Sandra Goudie said she did not support it and most other councillors were cautious.

Goudie refuses to give a straight answer on whether she recognises climate change is happening - which sounds like the weaseling of a Denier not wanting to admit it. And meanwhile, the waters keep rising. And no doubt, having stuck her fingers in her ears and refused to do anything, she'll expect the rest of the country to bail her shitty little council out of the problem exacerbated by their own stupidity.

Goudie isn't alone. According to Radio New Zealand, 23 local authorities plus the West Coast Regional Council have refused to sign up to the declaration. And by refusing to act, they are imposing long-term costs on their residents, and potentially on the rest of the New Zealand as well. The good news is that there are local body elections coming up in October. If you want action on climate change, you should vote accordingly.

(The Denier councils are the Far North, Whangarei, Kaipara, Thames-Coromandel, Otorohanga, Taupo, Opotiki, Wairoa, Stratford, South Taranaki, Manawatu, Tararua, Horowhenua, Buller, Westland, Hurunui, Ashburton, Timaru, Mackenzie, Waimate, Waitaki, and Queenstown-Lakes districts, Hamilton City, and the West Coast Regional Council).