Hutt City Council has become the latest local government to declare a climate emergency.
During a recently held meeting, the council cited the need to raise awareness on climate change and to prioritise reducing council and city-wide emissions to net zero carbon. It noted there are increasing calls from the community that more needs to be done, faster, to have any significant effect on the forecasted impact of climate change.
“Declaring a climate emergency is an important milestone for our city,” Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace said. “Climate change is not only an environmental issue it’s an economic and social issue that is expected to have far-reaching implications.
“With more than two-thirds of New Zealanders living within five kilometres of the ocean and significant assets, businesses and residents potentially affected, local government and central government need to be working together on adaptation strategies with and for our communities,” he noted.
The mayor mentioned the council’s work already underway on addressing climate change. This includes having a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, incorporating resilience measures into infrastructure improvements and building new dwellings to higher efficiency standards.
Meanwhile, Hutt City Council manager sustainability and resilience Jörn Scherzer said the council is participating in a regionally coordinated working group on coastal adaptation. It is also taking a cross-council collaborative approach to looking at the impacts of climate change on the Wellington region.
“What is clear through these discussions and the work to date is that climate change will affect us all and so there are benefits to working together,” Scherzer added.