Cli­mate sum­mit ups ante

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - War­ren Hately

Shire coun­cil­lors have made plans to hold a ma­jor cli­mate change sum­mit in Mar­garet River early next year.

The as-yet un­costed pro­posal comes as elected mem­bers voice frus­tra­tion at State and Fed­eral Govern­ment in­ac­tion on the en­vi­ron­ment, with coun­cil­lors say­ing they will lead the way in­stead.

At last week’s coun­cil meet­ing, the pro­posal to hold a “cli­mate ac­tion sum­mit” was added to the lat­est re-en­dorse­ment of the Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River’s Lo­cal En­ergy Ac­tion Plan, fo­cused on re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions from Shire fa­cil­i­ties and by ratepay­ers.

Cr Naomi God­den cited the lat­est “har­row­ing” In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change re­port for the United Na­tions in mov­ing the item, which was backed unan­i­mously by mem­bers.

“This is re­ally to get us into mo­tion on cli­mate change,” Cr God­den said.

“Ev­ery sin­gle com­mu­nity around the world needs to take ur­gent ac­tion on cli­mate change.

“This would be fairly un­prece­dented in WA.” Cr Peter Lane said he was “ap­palled” to find no State or lo­cal govern­ment at­ten­dees dur­ing his re­cent ratepayer-backed visit to a ma­jor cli­mate change con­fer­ence in Syd­ney.

Shire pres­i­dent Pam Town­shend said the sum­mit showed lo­cal govern­ment “are be­ing the lead­ers”.

Deputy Shire pres­i­dent Ju­lia Mel­drum said: “We don’t have the time — we can’t take any longer — for the State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments to take the lead on this”.

Cowaramup-based Cr Ian Earl also threw his sup­port be­hind the sum­mit. State and Fed­eral Gov­ern- ments were “woe­fully be­hind where they should be” and their at­ten­dance at the sum­mit was cru­cial, he said.

“All sides of pol­i­tics need to get to­gether and work out if we’re go­ing to deal with this, and how we’re go­ing to deal with this,” he said.

“Oth­er­wise, it’s only a spit in the ocean.”

The amend­ment in­structed of­fi­cers to de­velop the sum­mit with the Shire’s Sus­tain­abil­ity Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee for the first half of 2019.

In­vi­ta­tions would go to resi- dents, coun­cil­lors, Shire staff, and State and Fed­eral Govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives “to de­velop com­pre­hen­sive and am­bi­tious and well-con­sid­ered ac­tions on cli­mate change that can be un­der­taken by the whole com­mu­nity, and in­form (the) coun­cil’s Cli­mate Ac­tion Plan”.

Cr God­den told the Times the sum­mit was not a con­fer­ence, but aimed to de­velop a plan with “clear and mea­sur­able tar­gets for Au­gusta-Mar­garet River to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce its emis­sions and adapt and re­spond to . . . cli­mate change”.

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