Auckland City Council has become the latest to declare a climate emergency, joining Canterbury, Nelson, and Kāpiti Coast councils and other cities around the world that have formally recognised the urgency for climate change action.
According to the council, Aucklanders are already feeling the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and flooding impacts. It expects these impacts to get more serious over time and they will persist for the next several decades and beyond.
“We are experiencing increasingly frequent and severe storms, floods and droughts; we’re seeing melting polar ice sheets, sea level rise, coastal inundation, erosion and impacts on biodiversity including species loss and extinction,” Councillor and environment and community committee chair Penny Hulse said. “We must limit global warming to the Paris Agreement target of 1.5-degrees or face an uncertain future.
“This requires rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, industrial systems and infrastructure like transport networks and buildings,” she noted.
By declaring a climate emergency, the council is committing to continuing to incorporate climate change considerations into work programmes and decisions; providing strong local government leadership in the face of climate change; advocating for greater central government leadership and action on climate change; increasing the visibility of climate change work; leading by example in monitoring and reducing the council’s greenhouse gas emissions; and including climate change impact statements on all council committee reports.
“Our obligation is to avoid our children and grandchildren inheriting a world devastated by global heating,” Mayor Phil Goff said. “Scientists tell us that if we don’t take action, the effects of heating will be catastrophic, both environmentally and economically.
“In declaring an emergency, we are signalling the urgency of action needed to mitigate and adapt to the impact of rising world temperatures and extreme weather events,” he added.