An emergency is a situation where the normal ways we manage society and the economy cannot adequately deal with the risk we face. It implies, therefore, a change to what we do, commensurate with both the scale and urgency of the risk.
Why did the City of Greater Geraldton declare a Climate Emergency?
Action on climate change is urgent
We have less than 10 years to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. If we don’t we will see temperatures rise by at least 3 degrees by 2100.
This will result in all our coral reefs being destroyed, massive sea level rises, and an increase in heat waves, bush fires and drought. In addition, we will lose vast amounts of wildlife.
Why declare a climate emergency?
The City of Greater Geraldton is leading the way, being one of the first regional councils in WA to declare.
Over 30% of Australia's population has declared a climate emergency at a local or state level.
When someone in leadership proclaims an emergency everyone sits up and takes notice. We need everyone to act now to have a chance at keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
A climate emergency declaration must be accompanied by an action plan. Local government's must lead by example and also have a role to play in grass roots level education and support.
Why does local council need to do it?
Australia is one of the highest CO2 emitters per person in the world.
Western Australia is the only state with rising emissions fuelled by expanding fossil gas extraction.
Ideally we want the federal government to declare. But if the local government goes ahead and declares then it creates upward pressure on the federal government to do so.
It will likely lead to increased funding for councils that have declared, e.g. for trials of new renewable energy sources.
Isn’t this going to cost us a lot?
There will be a cost to reducing our carbon emissions, but many renewable sources of energy are actually cheaper than fossil fuel sources.
New clean energy industries are emerging with more jobs and opportunities for our region.
More importantly, the cost of inaction (not doing anything) is going to far outweigh any costs we incur now.