More Australian Councils Make Climate Emergency Declarations

Three more Australian councils have declared climate emergencies in the past week – Lismore, Wollongong and Launceston. Meanwhile, the Australian Government is reportedly playing silly buggers at an important climate summit.

Wollongong City Council

At a Wollongong City Council meeting on Monday, Councillor Ann Martin put forward a motion that carried declaring “Council recognises we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government.”

“As community leaders in our city, we have to admit the potential severity of the impacts of climate change on the Earth, and seek to implement changes to protect the future of our communities, and our natural and built environments and eco systems,” said Cr. Martin.

As part of related action, a report or briefing will be prepared containing among other things the results of an investigation into cost effective local power generation, water and energy saving initiatives, waste reduction strategies and projects.

Lismore City Council

At a meeting on Tuesday, Lismore City Councillors voted to declare human-induced climate change represents one of the greatest threats to humanity (and pretty much everything else that lives on the planet). It acknowledges Lismore City Council LGA is likely to be substantially affected by climate impacts, including its significant agricultural industry.

Among the actions to be undertaken is writing to various MPs and the Federal and NSW Environment Ministers; informing them of the resolution, urging them to acknowledge the same and take appropriate actions to address the crisis.

The declaration also notes the Federal government’s latest emissions data indicates emissions are increasing, not reducing.

Lismore City Council also reaffirmed its commitment to its 100% renewable energy target, which is to be achieved by 2025. As part of this effort Council has embraced solar energy, with high-profile installations including a 99kW floating solar power system at East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant and 99kW system at Lismore’s Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre.

The notice of motion, put forward by Cr. Elly Bird, can be viewed in the meeting’s agenda here (minutes weren’t available at the time of publishing). Ms. Bird said she was very pleased with the outcome.

Launceston City Council

Councillor Nick Daking’s notice of motion for a climate emergency declaration was carried at the Launceston City Council meeting last week.

Cr Daking’s motion also called for the implementation of an action plan for the LGA to achieve 100 per cent carbon neutrality by 2025, and for Council to move towards 100 per cent renewables by 2025.

Climate Emergency Declarations Gaining Momentum

The first Australian council to declare a climate emergency was Victoria’s Darebin City in 2016. The number of councils adopting climate emergency resolutions has been picking up in recent months. City of Darwin, City of Sydney, Noosa Shire and City of Melbourne have all made declarations recently.

34 councils across Australia to have declared a climate emergency  – so just over 6% of all councils.

Early this month, an alliance of councils that have made declarations formed an intra-governmental alliance called Climate Emergency Australia (CEA), which Government News reports will lobby the government for action on climate change.

Australia Behaving Badly At Climate Summit

It’s been reported Australia has been seeking to water down a final communique from the Pacific Islands Forum currently being held in Tuvalu. The Morrison Government is apparently trying to weaken language on certain points – or remove them altogether –  including statements referring to limiting global temperatures to 1.5C of warming, carbon neutrality and a ban on new coal plants.

While the Morrison Government says will stump up $500 million over five years from existing aid funds to assist Pacific nations invest in renewable energy and climate and disaster resilience, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said this doesn’t give Australia an excuse “to not do the right thing” in relation to its own emissions.

“It’s just immoral,” PM Sopoaga said. “Giving money in a sense to people to shut up – not to talk about their rights to survive.”

Sea level rise and severe weather connected to global warming is of particular concern in Tuvalu, a tiny isolated atoll island nation where the highest point is only around 4.5 metres above sea level and average elevation is less than 2 metres (for now).

The Climate Council says it’s pointless to give away large sums of money while failing to address the root cause of the problem.

“The Morrison government clings to coal as though life depends on it.  Life – as we know it – depends on giving up this polluting fossil fuel.”

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Kaitlyn Williams says

    Great article Michael, thank you.
    We are looking at getting our local council to declare a climate emergency here in the lower Hunter Valley.
    Ten percent of residents work in the mines therefore coal has much support.

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