CLIMATE EMERGENCY RESOLUTION – COUNCIL MEETING
13 August 2019
Cr Fraser – I am very pleased to support this timely motion moved by Cr Hearn – our youngest councillor. As French President Francois Holland remarked at the height of the 2015 Paris COP21 World Environment Conference – “It is for the youth that we are holding COP21”.
I would like to take a different and intergovernmental tack from the excellent remarks by Cr Hearn and place the work that we are undertaking this evening in Council and in the Shire into its international context and community of local governments.
What is COP? It an unhelpful acronym for Conference of the Parties under the auspices of the United Nations. It is a conference of all the nation states of the World. There have been 24 conferences or 25, if you include Rio De Janerio in 1992.
This 1992 date of the first Conference is highly significant, falling as it does, within two years of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War and demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, and, may I suggest, marked the beginning of World de-carbonization.
Local government and the regions and cities of the World have observer status at these UN Conferences of the Parties. It was in that capacity that this Council was represented at Bali in 2007 and Copenhagen 2009 by Cr Rodgers, Paris 2015 by the Mayor Cr Pittock and Cr Fraser, and at Bonn 2017 by Cr Brooks.
Driving these nations to this agreement were the sub-national local governments of cities and regions –all at the coal face so to speak – the carbon face – of climate change – mitigation and adaption. As the Mayor of Oakland, California, remarked “Governments waffle; cities and regions lead”.
That is why the Mornington Peninsula was at Paris and Bonn and at Bali and Copenhagen – with our 2016 resolved policy shift to a measurable commitment to carbon neutrality over five years by 2021 – fundamentally shifting the way we as a Shire think about the use of carbon, driving sensible practical projects in the Shire and in the community – not dropping our waste into septics and landfills, rolling out $5m self-funding LED street lighting, aligning our waste contracts with other councils facilitating closure of our methane generating Rye landfill – gathering ideas from others – to lead and learn and to engage with the other cities and regions of the World
So four years on from Paris, the Nations of the World are now in a really tough phase as to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the upcoming 5-year review – Donald Trump is backsliding from the Paris Agreement and financial compensation from the developed world – which has benefited from 200 years of carbon exploitation – to the undeveloped world most vulnerable to the impact of climate change and to abandon carbon – remain ongoing challenges.
So this Climate Change Emergency resolution by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council will give fresh momentum to Council’s resolved commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2021. Together with local government here and internationally, it will carry that commitment by example and education to the wider community and nation states.