Mayor says environmental threat needs same urgency as virus
MAYOR Katie Milne has called for the Tweed to respond to the "climate emergency" with the same sense of urgency as to the coronavirus pandemic.
The plea comes as Tweed Shire Council's draft Climate Change Policy is on public display for feedback until May 18.
The document serves as a road map of how the shire will react to the impacts of climate change as well as setting out a policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Cr Milne said Australians have responded to the COVID crisis with a new sense of shared responsibility.
"We have learnt from this COVID-19 emergency that the consequences of not taking action means the loss of many more lives and much longer economic interruption," she said.
"The same will be true for climate change if we don't take our environment seriously.
"These are testing times and we understand people are primarily thinking of protecting their family and their jobs in the face of COVID right now and that's understandable.
"However, climate change is not taking a holiday during the pandemic so we need to deal with both emergencies."
In June, the council will consider a report on the options and implications (including costs) of accelerating its efforts to respond to the climate emergency declaration.
The draft policy includes the proposal for the council to work towards an aspirational target to reach net zero emissions from its operations by 2030.
"We know this is ambitious but we also know that if we don't take action, the consequences could be serious," Cr Milne said.
"We've seen the world come together to make significant sacrifices for COVID-19, so I truly believe we can make the changes needed to reduce the impacts of climate change.
"Many of the changes will be for the better. We will have a less polluted world and much cleaner energy industries to work in."
Cr Milne said the effects of climate change will impact many facets of life, including "the council operations, the community, the economy and our environment".
She said the council's declaration of its position as being in a "state of climate emergency" last September's was a turning point.
"Council has been working hard to do our bit to respond to the challenges of climate change as part of our Renewable Energy Action Plan, including installing rooftop solar at 15 council facilities and energy efficiency improvements in streetlights, wastewater treatment and heating/ventilation systems," Cr Milne said.
"At its core, the development of the draft Climate Change Policy - Net Zero by 2030 is about council's efforts to protect our community and economy and preserve the Tweed's internationally significant environment."
To view the draft policy and provide feedback, visit www.yoursaytweed.com.au/climatechange. To make a submission on the policy in hard copy, contact council on 02 6670 2400 and a form will be mailed.