Thursday, May 16, 2019

Climate Change: A climate emergency in Canterbury

ECan has just declared a climate emergency, becoming the first local authority in New Zealand to do so. But what does it mean? Their declaration included this:

Environment Canterbury declares a climate emergency and commits to continue to:
  • robustly and visibly incorporate climate change considerations into Council work programmes and decisions
  • provide strong local government leadership in the face of climate change, including working with regional partners to ensure a collaborative response
  • advocate strongly for greater Central Government leadership and action on climate change
  • increase the visibility of our climate change work
  • lead by example in monitoring and reducing Council’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The first is the most important part: if they're serious about this, then it means considering climate change in every decision they make. Public transport? Its about climate change. Irrigation and dairy intensification? Climate change. They need to alter their regional plans and policies to ensure that activities which reduce emissions are encouraged, while those which increase them - such as dairy farming - are limited and discouraged. And I look forward to them doing that.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa for achieving this. Hopefully, it will be the first council of many.