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Climate emergency

At its 19 September 2019 Council meeting, Tweed Shire Council declared a climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including by local councils.

The Tweed’s wildlife, waterways, coastlines, utilities, infrastructure, businesses and communities are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Climate change is projected to impact the North Coast (external link) in a range of ways:

  • increased maximum and minimum temperatures
  • increased number of hot days
  • decreased number of cold nights
  • rainfall is projected to decrease in winter and increase in autumn and spring
  • average fire weather is projected to increase in summer and spring
  • severe fire weather days are projected to increase in summer and spring

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of existing climate-related risks to a range of Tweed’s assets and activities. A joint climate risk analysis with Byron Shire Council in 2009 outlined key risks and adaptation actions relating to:

  • the introduction or proliferation of exotic plant, animal and insect species
  • loss of biodiversity
  • habitat displacement
  • increased flood level and frequency
  • higher evaporation and longer drought
  • effect on freshwater supply
  • coastal erosion
  • impacts on coastal development
  • decline in the local economy
  • increased bushfire events

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 Special Report (external link) on the impact of global warming advocates for reducing global CO2 emissions by 45% from 2010 by 2030. To do this would ‘require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems (high confidence). These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant up-scaling of investments in those options’

Tweed Shire Council aims to meet the challenges and embrace climate-friendly solutions in three ways:

Raising awareness - building a strong knowledge base in the local community about individual, community and local government roles in addressing climate change.

Reducing emissions - reducing operational emissions through the delivery of energy and fuel efficiency measures, investing in renewable energy technologies and facilitating low carbon lifestyles in the local community

Preparing for change - identifying and responding to the range of environmental, social and economic pressures that climate change and associated policy responses will pose to Tweed Shire Council and the community it serves.

Raising awareness

Electricity in homes and businesses, transport fuels and waste are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions from across the Tweed.

From these major sources of emissions, we each create at least nine tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per person per year. Collectively we need to reduce our carbon footprint to less than four tonnes CO2-e per person per year to avoid dangerous changes in global temperatures.

Check out Council’s Energy , Waste and Transport pages for ideas to help reduce your emissions.

Major Greenhouse Gas Emissions Sources 2016

Tweed Shire Council calculated the carbon footprint of the Tweed to meet its requirements under the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (external link). Over 7,500 councils worldwide have also signed up to the covenant, which represents more than 686 million people taking steps to measure, report and put solutions in place in response to climate change.

Reducing emissions

Visit Sustainable Operations to find out more about Council's actions to reduce its emissions and environmental impacts..

To work out your household’s carbon footprint, and to explore how your lifestyle contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, check out the Australian Greenhouse Calculator (external link).

Find out more about a climate-friendly lifestyle (external link).

Since 2003 Tweed Shire Council has used the Local Action Plan for Greenhouse Gas Reduction (659kB PDF) as its blueprint to reduce emissions from its own operations while providing education and support for community emission reduction.

Preparing for change

Preparing the North Coast region for the impacts of climate change is imperative. Six major themes are key factors in the resilience of the North Coast to current and future climate impacts:

  1. the narrow coastal plain, and sensitivity to changes in flooding and sea level rise
  2. population demographics and change
  3. infrastructure and settlements exposed to current and future climate impacts
  4. regional networks, making them strong and effective
  5. leadership across government, business and the community for an adaptive region
  6. funding models and priorities, including increasing cost pressures and revenue losses

Find out more about the 2016 North Coast Integrated Regional Vulnerability Assessment (external link).

The 2019 North Coast Enabling Regional Adaptation report (ERA) describes potential pathways to respond to the impacts of climate change on the systems our region relies on.

Tweed Shire Council is helping to build adaptation to climate change consistent with the ERA including:

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