Kingston Council declares a climate emergency to rounds of applause
4 February 2020
Kingston Council has joined hundreds of councils around the world in declaring a climate and ecological emergency.
The decision was met with huge rounds of applause by the packed gallery that had gathered for the emotional vote on Tuesday 28 January.
By declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency Council is recognising that climate change is already causing significant damage to the economy, society and environment and that urgent action is required to reverse current trends.
Kingston Mayor Georgina Oxley said the time to act on climate change was well overdue. “We are the custodians of this planet and it’s our role to make the planet a better place to live for those who come after us,” Cr Oxley said.
“We need action not words and we need it now.”
As part of its commitment to action, Kingston Council will develop a climate emergency response plan in the 2020-2021 budget cycle focusing on policy and actions to mitigate against accelerating climate change and global warming.
This compliments action Council is taking to minimise its greenhouse gas emissions including replacing street lights with LED and investing $500k to install solar panels in Council buildings.
“Council has committed to reducing corporate emissions by a minimum of 30% by 2020 and achieving zero emissions by 2050, but there’s a lot more we can be doing,” said Cr Oxley.
“The climate emergency response plan will focus on working with our community to raise awareness of climate change and support community action to reduce emissions.”
“Kingston has a wonderful reputation for supporting school environmental education programs and Carrum Primary School won the Victorian Resource Smart School of the Year for their biodiversity promotion, recycling programs and solar energy initiatives.”
The declaration focused on the following areas:
- Protecting vegetation and looking at increasing native vegetation and trees through the planning system and local laws
- Working with Kingston’s diverse multicultural communities to raise awareness of climate change, and support community action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and build environmental resilience
- Calling upon State and Federal governments to also declare a climate and ecological emergency and back this up with programs to drive emergency action to reduce greenhouse gases
- Investigating the financial viability of moving away from financial institutions which fund the fossil fuel industry