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.
Council’s Interim Climate Change Action Plan describes 57 greenhouse gas emissions reduction and climate adaptation actions in response to the climate emergency.
Global Compact of Mayors
Over 10,000 cities from 120 countries representing more than 900 million people worldwide are part of a global alliance for local government climate leadership. Councils commit to advance climate action in three key areas:
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- identifying – and adapting to – the risks associated with climate change
- increasing access to clean and affordable energy
Our progress is recognised by a system of badges. In 2020, Tweed Shire Council achieved the following badges:
Climate change in the Tweed
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 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 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’.
Climate friendly solutions
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 - Council has a key role to play in reducing its own emissions. Council will strive to reach net zero emissions from its operations by 2030, and will support community efforts to reach net zero emissions over the same period.
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.
Find out more about Council’s Climate Change Management Policy(PDF, 220KB)
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.
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:
- the narrow coastal plain, and sensitivity to changes in flooding and sea level rise
- population demographics and change
- infrastructure and settlements exposed to current and future climate impacts
- regional networks, making them strong and effective
- leadership across government, business and the community for an adaptive region
- funding models and priorities, including increasing cost pressures and revenue losses
Find out more about the 2016 North Coast Integrated Regional Vulnerability Assessment
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:
- settlements and land-use planning:
- resilient communities: working with the community to build safe, healthy and more inclusive communities in the Tweed
- cultural heritage: strengthening Council's relationship with the Aboriginal community through a Reconciliation Action Plan(PDF, 2MB) re
- biodiversity: targeting bushland management, providing support for threatened species and communities, and reducing threats to biodiversity
- emergency management: providing Tweed residents with links, useful information and contacts in an emergency via the Emergency Dashboard
- food and agriculture : working to improve the viability and environmental capacity of the Tweed's farmlands
- infrastructure: Council’s Sustainable Design Guidelines(PDF, 830KB) help incorporate resilience to regional climate predictions in Council buildings and infrastructure.
- water security:
- raising the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam to meet the demands of the shire’s growing population and address the anticipated effects of climate change on the amount of water available to meet demand, particularly during severe drought. Find out more about the latest project updates
- protecting the Tweed’s raw water source from tidal inundation of Bray Park Weir due to climate change
- reviewing against best-practice our ongoing work towards augmenting the water supply and improving the outcomes of water saving and drought management initiatives
- energy: helping the community with energy saver workshops, ideas and a solar buyers’ guide , while investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy for Council facilities to produce 25% of Council’s own electricity from renewables by 2022, and 50% by 2025
- tourism: appointing the Tweed Tourism Company to lead the Tweed’s marketing, experience and tourism development, major event promotions and visitor information services