Shire’s climate efforts reach global stage

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HUGH Fraser addresses the United Nations climate conference in Madrid, Spain.

LOCAL government representatives from around the world have been told about Mornington Peninsula Shire’s efforts to attain “climate neutrality” through lessening its carbon emissions.

Cr Hugh Fraser last week outlined the declaration of a climate emergency by the shire and 1000 other Australian municipalities to a conference in Madrid, Spain.

He said the move by local governments to recognise the climate emergency in Australia started in 2016 and was adopted by the shire on 13 August this year following an audit of its carbon footprint which was first undertaken five years ago.

Cr Fraser told his international audience that the shire “is now developing a climate emergency plan, building on our climate neutrality commitment”.

Cr Fraser spoke at the opening day of the conference (Monday 2 December) on behalf of the International Commission for Local Government Environment Initiatives (ICLEI) – an umbrella organisation for the Local Government and Municipal Authorities Constituency (LGMA).

He said the emphasis of the conference was on containing global warming to 1.5 degrees, 25 per cent less than the two degrees agreed to at the 2015 United Nations climate change conference, or COP 21.

“The climate emergency is such that even containment to 1.5 degrees is problematic,” Cr Fraser said.

“Equally important are the nation state negotiations as to the rules to govern the operation of the Paris Agreement Article 6 as to carbon credits. An agreed set of practical rules will be a vital outcome of this COP 25.

“The Oxford Dictionary chose ‘climate emergency’ as the word of 2019. There is no better place than town halls to discuss and act on climate emergency.”

Federal Energy and Emissions reduction Minister Angus Taylor says Australia in one track to meet its commitment to reduce carbon emission by 26-28 per cent by 2030 based on 2005 levels.

However, this can only be achieved if the Madrid conference agrees to Australia counting carryover credits achieved when it previously performed better than expected. Some Pacific and European countries have opposed the inclusion of carryover credits.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 10 December 2019

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