Climate Summit for Local Government

Sept 6-8, 2023 | Melbourne

THE Hawkesbury could be in for longer and harsher bushfire seasons in the future according to a report released by the Climate Council.

Released earlier this month, the Climate Council’s Critical Decade 2017: Accelerating Climate Action highlighted a number of potential problems Australians will face in the future, if climate change modelling proved true. One such fear is that there could be much longer bushfire seasons, and in an area such as the Hawkesbury, that could spell danger for many residents.

Other potential impacts are more severe heatwaves and droughts, sea levels rising and coral reef bleaching. The report also found that extreme weather events were becoming more common and powerful because of climate change.

Climate Councillor Professor Will Steffen said Australia needed to do more to tackle climate change. “The pressure is on for Australia to do its fair share towards tackling climate change, and state and local governments are emerging as important players,” he said.

“We need to build on this action to create an integrated policy response at all levels of government to reduce Australia’s emissions rapidly and deeply. “Despite inaction at the federal level, Australia’s transition to clean energy is gaining momentum, bringing with it opportunities for economic growth and increases in employment.”

Earlier this year, Hawkesbury Council signed on with the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership. The idea of the partnership is that local councils across Australia take some sort of action to contribute to the fight against climate change. The Critical Decade 2017: Accelerating Climate Action report praised the councils that had joined the partnership.

Hawkesbury Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett said Council was happy to be involved with the partnerhsip. “This year we’ve already seen record-breaking heat in winter and early spring, escalating our bushfire threat,she said. “Longer, more intense bushfire seasons already put immense stress on our local medical and fire services – and it’s only set to get worse unless we act on climate change.

“As this report notes, this is the critical decade to ramp up action on climate change and local government has an important role to play – that’s why we’re accelerating our move to clean energy and reducing emissions by using solar power.”

Climate Council chief executive Amanda Mckenzie praised councils taking part in the organisation’s scheme. “Local governments are rolling up their sleeves to find climate change solutions, with many councils setting their own ambitious clean energy targets,” she said.

This article first appeared in the Hawkesbury Courier on 1 December 2018.