City Of Sydney (Council) To Vote On Climate Emergency Declaration

City of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore - climate emergency

Mayor Clover Moore – City of Sydney | Image: Hpeterswald, CC BY-SA 4.0

At the City of Sydney Council meeting this evening councillors will be voting on declaring a climate emergency and putting more pressure on the Federal Government to act on climate change.

The declaration is being driven by Mayor Clover Moore.

Mayor Moore has pointed out Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased every year for the last four years and while City of Sydney will reach its 2030 emissions reduction target by 2024, federal government policies “simply aren’t working”.

 “I believe this Council should declare a climate emergency, step up our efforts to hold the Federal Government to account and explore new strategies for making the city more sustainable into the future, and fostering our green economy,” says Mayor Moore.

If the vote is in favour, among the following actions will be a call to the federal government to respond the emergency by:

  • taking urgent action to meet Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets by reintroducing a price on carbon.
  • establishing a Just Transition Authority, funded to ensure Australians working in fossil fuel industries are provided opportunities for alternative viable and appropriate employment.

City of Sydney’s climate focus appears to be strongly backed by its ~208,000-strong population.

“When the City of Sydney consulted for our long term strategic plan – Sustainable Sydney 2030 – 97 percent of people said they wanted strong climate action, so we made it our top priority,” says the mayor.

At a recent meeting hosted by Council attended by more than 300 leaders from the local business community, community groups, government and cultural institutions, 85 percent agreed when asked if the City should declare a climate emergency.

Mayor Moore’s notes on tonight’s related agenda item can be viewed here.

Declaration of climate emergencies by councils across the country are becoming more common, although not all go according to plan. According to this website, 22 councils representing roughly two million people and 8.3 per cent of Australia’s population have declared a climate emergency. Beyond our shores, more than 600 jurisdictions have made declarations.

Solar Energy & City Of Sydney’s Emissions Reduction Strategy

In March this year City of Sydney committed to using 100 per cent renewable energy sources to meet its electricity needs and has already installed solar panels on some of its buildings. The council is one of more than 100 across Australia that have signed on to the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership, many of which are using commercial solar power systems to not only slash emissions, but also their energy bills.

UPDATE: 7.20PM – Mayor Moore announced a short time ago “The City of Sydney has officially declared a climate emergency.”

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. Margaret Couttas says

    What a pack of idiots climate change is a natural progression that has been happening over centuries

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Well, let’s see, the global mean temperature has risen by about 1 degree over the past 50 years. The earth is around 5 degrees cooler than now during an ice age glacial period. So if we assume temperatures have been rising at the same rate for centuries as they have in the last 50 years then the earth would have been in an ice age glacial period in around 1770. Funny how James Cook didn’t mention the New Zealand ice cap when he sailed around the South Island. Actually, I think New Zealand should be just one island during a glacial period. London, of course, would have been about as cold as Stockholm is now.

      • Well let’s see, that 1 degree rise in absolute terms is a rise of 0.35% over 50 years, that is 0.007% per year. Hardly anything to worry about.
        Still, that being said, the reason for buying solar is to reduce electricity bills, a very sound reason

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Here I was thinking I should go to hospital, but thanks to you I now realize this 39 degree fever is only an increase of 0.65% in absolute terms. That’s hardly anything! I feel so much better now.

          • So its a numbers game we’re playing is it? If that 2 degree temperature rise was developed over 1 day or less that would be equivalent to 235% over 1 year. A bit different to my 0.007% in 1 year. Best you don’t postpone that trip to the hospital.
            The point I was trying to make is that the increase in the earth’s heat content due to global warming is negligible

          • Ronald Brakels says

            A one degree increase in temperature is negligible even though the difference in mean temperature between 1950 and peak glaciation 26,000 years ago when glaciers reached Manhattan and there were woolly mammoths in Spain was 5 degrees. When I put it like that a one degree change in temperature doesn’t look that small. Maybe you should try calculating the absolute change in the earth’s heat instead of temperature and see if getting an even smaller number makes the problem go away.

        • Geoff Miell says


          The 1°C temperature rise above pre-industrial age is a global average. It is NOT a uniform temperature rise across the globe. The polar regions have experienced much greater temperature rises compared with the global average.

          A global temperature anomaly graph for Mar 2019 can be found here:

          Reported last year:

          “The north pole gets no sunlight until March, but an influx of warm air has pushed temperatures in Siberia up by as much as 35C above historical averages this month. Greenland has already experienced 61 hours above freezing in 2018 – more than three times as many hours as in any previous year.”

          Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent are tracked and updated publicly during the first week of each month, or more frequently as conditions warrant here:

          Sea ice extent and thickness are shrinking due to polar warming. Melting sea ice doesn’t cause sea level rise but it allows access for the sun to warm the polar seas which then erodes the land-based glaciers at the sea-land interface, and allows the glaciers to flow faster. Warmer seas also warm the air.

          The Greenland ice sheet is tracked here:

          Melting land-based glaciers and warming seas expanding cause sea level rise.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Margaret Couttas,
      You say:
      “…climate change is a natural progression that has been happening over centuries”

      Want to bet your life, and your childrens’ and grandchildrens’ lives (if you have any) on that?


    • Geoff Miell says

      Margaret Couttas,
      You say:

      “What a pack of idiots climate change is a natural progression that has been happening over centuries”

      Filed late Tuesday (Jul 23) at The Land is an article headlined “BHP commits to emissions reduction, declares ‘Global warming indisputable.’”, by Daniel Pedersen. The article begins with:

      “BHP’s chief executive Andrew Mackenzie on Tuesday delivered a bombshell in London, declaring carbon emissions must be reduced, otherwise: “the planet will survive. Many species may not.””

      Other comments by Mackenzie reported include:

      “society’s combustion of fossil fuels and industrial processes like steelmaking and agriculture have released greenhouse gases at rates much faster than at any other time in the geological past.”

      “Previous events when CO2 was added to the atmosphere more slowly and sometimes in similar amounts show us what may happen if we do not act.”

      “These events coincided with mass extinctions and major rises in sea level. And they also suggest that future heating will more likely be towards the upper end of forecasts.”

      “The evidence is abundant: global warming is indisputable,”

      From the ABC’s “The Business” programme, broadcast on July 8, was an interview with former head of the Australian Coal Association, Ian Dunlop. Here’s some of what was said in the extended interview:

      From time interval 10:14, host Elysse Morgan asked:

      “What’s the impetus for… for a government, or a… a corporate board to… to make this giant leap, to make some significant changes?

      Ian Dunlop responded with:

      “Well, it’s quite simple: I mean, if they don’t, they won’t have a market, and they won’t have a business model, and they won’t have an economy. I mean, this is… this is what climate change means. I mean, within the next twenty to thirty years, you’re going to see massive changes around the world, where the conventional economic model is no longer sustainable because of the impacts of climate, primarily.

      Now, I mean, if they… they’re now starting to realise that that is the threat, and if… if you are a director of a… a major corporation, you have a fiduciary responsibility to actually look at those risks honestly. Now that’s what our corporate boards have not been doing. They have… they have assumed that in some way this is a sort of… risk similar to the ones you see in conventional financial markets, or operational activities, and climate can be addressed the same way – well, it can’t. I mean, it’s an existential threat, and if you have an existential threat you need a completely different sort of risk management. It really says, look, um… you know, we’re here today, we have to get there tomorrow, how do we do it? It’s not a question of: what’s politically realistic. It’s a question of what has to be done to reduce emissions as rapidly as we possibly can, um… to meet those climate objectives. Now that’s… that now is the primary resp… um… objective we have to see in this country.

      And the trouble is that what we’ve done is leave it so late, that we now can’t do it, as I said earlier in the sort of graduated sense. You actually have to move to an emergency framework. That means you’ve got to reduce the emissions from the big fossil fuel producers, as an absolute priority. There is no other way, to avoid the risk of triggering irreversible climate change. You can’t do it ah… by sort of some of the earlier technological solutions that we’ve talked about. I mean, technology is always going to be important, and we’ve seen massive changes, but if you look at the scale of the problem, those emissions from the Shells, and the Exons, and the BPs, and BHP, and so on, have got to come down. There is no other choice at this point.”

      IMO, it looks like BHP is beginning to take the existential threat of dangerous climate change seriously and expressing significant intent to respond to the challenges.

      So, Margaret Couttas, do you think Andrew Mackenzie and the board of BHP are “a pack of idiots” too? Or are you the one who is ignorant of, and deluded about, what is really happening with planet Earth’s climate? Perhaps you (and any other apparent climate science deniers) should be re-evaluating where you get your information from and re-assess your position/viewpoint?

      Perhaps you could start with looking at this:

      Or, Margaret Couttas, you could remain ignorant and deluded and ill-prepared – the choice is yours!

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