Clover Moore has ordered urgent action to address climate change. Photo: Daniel Munoz Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore (front row, second from right) with other mayors at the C40 Mayoral Summit in Mexico. Photo: Supplied
As the Turnbull government struggles to implement a clear and effective climate change policy, the City of Sydney will redouble its efforts to reduce emissions in a bid to bypass the federal impasse.
Lord mayor Clover Moore, who returned from C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico earlier this month, said the climate conference had alerted her to the scale and urgency of the action required by cities to address climate change.
Cr Moore said she now believed the city needed to do “twice as much in half the time” and, at Monday night’s council meeting, called on the council to accelerate its existing targets and re-allocate funding if necessary.
“It was clear from the conference that we need bolder action at a faster rate if we are to play our part in meeting the Paris Agreement,” Cr Moore stated in her report from the summit, which was tabled at Monday night’s council meeting.
At the meeting, she called on council staff to come back to council in February “with actions to accelerate our emissions reductions over the next four years”.
Fast-tracking the city’s move towards zero-carbon buildings, including developing a clear target date by which building standards should be in place, were key priorities, she said.
She also called on City of Sydney chief executive Monica Barone to bring forward the city’s Draft Environmental Action Plan to the council’s first meeting in 2017 with a clear list of priorities in line with the C40 Summit.
Cr Moore said research presented at the summit provided cities with clear targets which, if adopted, would deliver 40 per cent of the savings need to achieve the ambition of the Paris Agreement.
Cr Moore’s report and recommendations were adopted unanimously by council.
The focus of Monday night’s council meeting on climate change policy comes after the Turnbull government’s beleaguered week in the policy arena, which culminated in a fractious meeting with state premiers at Friday’s Council of Australian Government meeting.
The week was dominated by Coalition intransigence on climate change, even as a report by chief scientist Alan Finkel warned Australia had no clear path to meeting the 2030 emissions target taken to the Paris climate deal under existing policies.
This report was preceded by a policy capitulation by Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg, who promptly dumped plans for a review of the Coalition’s direct action policy to examine whether to introduce an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity industry – a form of carbon pricing – after vocal opposition from the Coalition backbench.
Fairfax Media then revealed the Turnbull government had been sitting on advice that an emissions intensity scheme would save households and businesses up to $15 billion in electricity bills over a decade.
The Paris Agreement commits signatories, including Australia, to “hold average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees and pursue efforts to keep warming below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”.