Nelson City Council has declared a state of climate emergency.
The council is the second local government unit in New Zealand to make an official declaration, following Environment Canterbury.
According to Nelson City Council, the declaration is recognition of mounting advice from scientists and the United Nations that there is a small window for action to avoid the most damaging effects of climate change.
The council highlighted it has a programme of work on climate change already underway. It noted it also welcomed the Government’s Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill.
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The State of Climate Change Emergency emphasises Nelson City Council’s intention to play a key role in leading the community toward a resilient and low emissions future and implementing adaptive measures that will help to manage and minimise risk, the council said.
“Our vision is to be the Smart Little City and climate change leadership requires smart thinking and proactive decision making,” Nelson City Mayor Rachel Reese said. “We’re going to need a new way of thinking and working to meet the expectations of our youth and of the next generation.
“This issue affects everyone in Nelson, and we need to harness the power of our business and community strengths to work alongside the council, to look at how we can maintain our community well-being into the future.
“Our community has the capability to make a difference,” she said.
The mayor added Nelson City Council is committed to looking at how its plans, policies, and work programmes can support actions to address the climate emergency. It will also look ensure that a climate emergency strategy is embedded in all future council strategic plans.
By declaring a State of Climate Emergency, Nelson City Council joins 529 councils in 10 countries, as well as the United Kingdom and Irish parliaments, in recognising that action on climate change needs to be prioritised at all levels of society and government.