Why this council has declared a 'state of climate emergency'
A NORTH Coast council has taken the unusual step of declaring a state of climate emergency.
Byron Shire councillor Cate Coorey said the decision was made in response to the latest emissions figures and the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The council is now urging other Northern Rivers councils to join them in calling for action on climate change.
"All the latest science is telling us we have a very short window to act before irreversible and catastrophic impacts from global warming start to take effect," Cr Coorey said.
"In a shire like Byron that will mean sea level rise and a likely increase in floods, droughts, fires and extreme weather events such as damaging storms.
"Council has declared that we are in a state of climate emergency and that we need action by all levels of government.
"We may not be able to to have a direct impact on political decisions at the State and Federal level but we can show some leadership locally and start taking action.
"As a mother of two teenagers I am fearful of the kind of damaged planet that this generation is leaving for them and their children."
The council will convene a community-led Climate Emergency Guidance Group that will develop a shire-wide Climate Emergency Plan to provide a framework for how we reduce climate impacts.
The council will also write to the State and Federal governments advising them of their work and urging them to acknowledge a climate emergency and to act with urgency to address the crisis.
"We are also urging our neighbour councils get on board as well and we will be contacting them asking them to develop their own Climate Emergency Plan," Cr Coorey said.
"Reversing climate change may seem like an insurmountable problem but if every council, every community, every individual does their bit then at least we can say we have done something," she said.
The formation of the Climate Emergency Guidance Group will be discussed by the Sustainable Emission Reduction Advisory Committee when it meets today (October 25).