Christchurch City Council has declared a climate and ecological emergency.
It joins a growing number of cities worldwide who have declared climate change emergencies and pledged to take urgent action to reduce their carbon emissions.
“The scientific evidence that our planet is in crisis is irrefutable. By declaring a global climate and ecological emergency we are raising awareness about the urgency of the need for everyone to take action to reduce carbon emissions to zero,’’ says Mayor Lianne Dalziel.
“We are acknowledging that we need to better prepare ourselves for the impacts of climate change and that we need to work with our communities on mitigation measures and co-created adaptive planning tools.
"Christchurch City Council has already set itself the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. We are now working towards setting a carbon neutral target for the city as a whole in consultation with our communities.
“Cities have a large responsibility in addressing climate change and we are committed to working with other cities around New Zealand and the world to share knowledge, solutions and ideas,’’ the Mayor says.
Cr Sara Templeton, Chair of the Council’s Climate Change Working Group, says the emergency declaration is a call to action.
“It is the wellbeing of our residents that needs to be at the heart of our decision-making. And that is why we must make sure that they know the truth and that we work with them both to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
“Because the truth is climate change itself will have enormous consequences on our community health and wellbeing – rising seas and larger storms are already raising anxiety and hopeful action from all of us is the antidote to paralysis. Inaction is not an option,’’ Cr Templeton says.
Mayor Dalziel says it make financial sense to act now.
“Ironically the costs will only increase if we don’t take action now. For every $1 invested in resilience, there is a return of between $4 and $10,’’ she says. "In other words there is a financial cost, so if we don't invest now, we are simply deferring what will be a significantly greater cost in the medium term.''
* Christchurch and Banks Peninsula residents are being encouraged to fill out a short online survey about climate change. The findings of the survey will help inform the Council's Climate Change Strategy and the action plans that will support it. The survey is open until 31 May.