Climate change is a critical issue for local government, including addressing the associated legal, social, economic and environmental risks. Local governments make decisions that impact present communities as well as future generations. Mount Barker Council has been working on climate change programs for the past 2 decades, although the urgency of acting on climate change was most recently highlighted in Council’s Environment Strategy that was developed in 2018. The ‘low carbon and resilient’ goal set a number of actions for council to pursue in partnership, including the development of Climate Change Action Plan (insert link). This plan sets out Council’s response to climate action focusing on emission reduction and climate risk mitigation and adaptation.
What is Council doing to address climate change?
Council is tackling Climate Change by:
- Educating our community about climate change and what to do
- Planning for water conservation and reuse
- Monitoring and reducing our energy consumption where possible - from our buildings, fleet and through our procurement policies and procedures
- Creating a climate resilient open space network by the use of appropriate species and by increasing the tree canopy cover through an extensive tree planting program
- Endorsed a climate change action plan (adaptation and mitigation)
- Joining the Cities Power Partnership (see further information below)
At its November meeting, Council supported a motion to declare a climate emergency.
The declaration states that Council recognises that we are in a state of climate emergency, requiring urgent action from all levels of government, including local government and that it commit to both mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change through prioritised implementation of the Climate Change Action Plan and Environment Plan.
At the same meeting Council adopted the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) which will be progressively implemented.
The CCAP identifies many actions to be taken across multiple areas of Council’s management and operations, as well as in the community. Please contact Council about climate action in your area or town.
In terms of reducing emissions, the next 10 years are considered critical. In 2015 the international community committed to the ‘Paris Agreement’ to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to try and keep global temperatures to below 1.50 C warming (temperatures have increased by 1.10 C) The climate clock tracks the task ahead https://climateclock.net
Council has committed to a 3% annual reduction in GHGs.
Where We Build, What We Build
As natural hazards intensify because of climate change, living expenses like energy, mortgages and insurance will get more expensive for climate vulnerable homes – that is, homes that are in high-risk areas and have not been built to mitigate those risks.
The Where We Build What We Build project aims to encourage building or retrofitting of homes that are climate-ready, by demonstrating that the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs.
One of the goals of the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula region is to remain liveable, affordable and resilient in the changing climate, by better managing climate risks.
To help achieve this, the project explored:
- Where We Build – the exposure of the region's existing housing to flood, heat and bushfire risks
- What We Build – the sensitivity of the region's existing housing to those risks
- Climate-Ready Home – the ideal specification for a climate-ready home in the region
- Economic Analysis – the costs and benefits of building or retrofitting to climate-ready specifications, compared with existing housing stock and standards.
For more information visit Where We Build What We Build.
Resilient Hills and Coast Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the region.
Council has collaborated with regional partners to develop a Climat Change Adaptation Plan for the region. Climate change will impact on the region and the plan will help inform Council's and others response.
To view more information please click here:
Cities Power Partnership
Council together with other councils across Australia have joined Cities Power Partnership (a free national program created by the Climate Council) to slash greenhouse gas pollution and tackle worsening climate change.
Councils taking part in the Cities Power Partnership pledge to take five actions across renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and working together to tackle climate change.
The five actions our Council has pledged are:
- Use strategic and statutory planning processes to promote renewable energy - both at the residential, commercial and larger scale.
- Install renewable energy on council buildings for example childcare facilities, libraries, street lighting, recreation centres, sporting grounds, and council offices
- Public lighting can use a large proportion of a city’s energy budget - roll out energy efficient lighting (particularly street lighting) across the municipality
- Set city-level renewable energy or emissions reduction targets and sustainable energy policies to provide a common goal and shared expectations for local residents and businesses
- Implement an education and behaviour change program to influence the behaviour of council officers, local energy efficiency and sustainable transport
To find out more about the Cities Power Partnership visit https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/category/cities-power-partnership/