The Greens are leading the push in councils for better climate and environmental policies.
Recent scientific advice now advises that the world must meet net zero emissions by 2035, and 75% below 2005 emissions by 2030 in order to safeguard ecological and geographical systems that support human life. There is no safe level of global warming. In order to minimise temperature increase, most of the changes needed to get to net zero emissions are required in this decade. Yet the world remains on track for 3°C of warming this century, which would be catastrophic for Australia even before that occurs.
In September 2019, Councillor Charles Jago introduced a successful motion in which Canada Bay Council declared a climate emergency.
Reducing carbon emissions
Key steps in reducing carbon emissions include phasing in renewable electricity, stopping use of “natural” ie fossil gas and supporting electric vehicles (EVs). Charles Jago has taken these steps with:
- Successfully introducing a motion to Council in June 2020, committing Council to 100% renewable electricity by 1 July 2022 at the latest.
- Introducing a motion in July 2021 for phasing out natural gas.
- Successfully introducing a motion to Council in [date], committing Council to incorporate provisions for EV charging in new apartment blocks, and commercial and industrial developments.
Council has committed to increasing tree canopy across the LGA from 18% to at least 25% by 2040 (ref 1). Increased tree canopy will play a critical role in improving the health and quality of life of the city through creating better urban amenity, improving air quality, supporting biodiversity, and other benefits. Trees will also absorb carbon and help reduce the impact of climate change. Research has shown that trees in the urban landscape also significantly improve property values.
Council has committed to a substantial tree planting program of 1,500 new trees every year on public land toward its target. However, the majority of trees in the LGA are on private land. In particular a substantial number of large, mature trees existing on private land are vulnerable to clearing due to ongoing building development.
In May, Councillor Jago successfully put forward a motion for better reporting on trees removed, primarily in regard to tracking the loss of trees on private land.
Council is working on ways to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. As chair of Council’s Environmental Advisory Committee, Charles Jago has been supportive of these programs.
These improvements involve action on policy and reporting across Council areas of planning, procurement and council operations.