The Council’s Climate Change Policy was passed by Council on the 8th July. Given the overwhelming public support for action on climate change, this is as it should be.
This policy is an overarching policy that provides for Council to begin the process of planning for the myriad different impacts of global warming.
Council will collect data on their own emissions and those of the community and to plan to reduce these.
Council will prepare, in consultation with the community, a set of plans including:
- Climate Change Action Plan
Disaster Resilience Strategy
Energy & Emissions Reduction Policy
Greener Places Strategy
Sea Level Rise Policy
The first one must be developed as quickly as possible as the response to climate change is now a matter of urgency. A period of 2 months for a draft should by targeted with public exhibition to follow ASAP after that.
It should set the targets for emissions reductions based on the practicality of eliminating emissions (depending on what parts of the Council’s operations they originate from and how quickly measures can be put in place – some measures are likely to be savings for Council’s budget).
It should state the most likely planning scenario, RCP 8.5 to provide Council to make plans for its operations.
It should provide a schedule for reduction of emissions consistent with the warnings of urgency of the IPCC SR15 and the Paris Agreement.
A schedule of the production of the other plans required under the CCP should also be included. The most urgent being the Energy & Emissions Reduction Policy and the Disaster Resilience Strategy.
Owners of property that is vulnerable to sea level rise are rightly concerned that their property will reduce in value.
Unfortunately, this would not be the fault of anything Council would or could do! It comes from the fact that the seas are rising. Continued avoidance of this fact does not remove the hazard. If we don’t plan for rising sea levels, we suffer the consequences of being un-prepared.
We have a moral responsibility to help people whose properties are threatened by sea level rise. It is not clear what we should be doing for them, that would be a discussion we need to have as a community, but its seems unfair to leave them to bear a burden that we are all responsible for. If we are to survive the climate challenge, our best bet is to work together to support those who are most vulnerable, or we lose the moral battle.
The residents of these properties need to work out what they want based on an acceptance of the problem and an understanding of the scientific projections. Any practical solution that is appropriate for each situation may well be different. Simply denying that the ocean is rising is not an option. This would result in either no plan at all or an in-appropriate one.
One suggestion could be a change to the way we view the value of vulnerable property. Some form of recognition of the loss, perhaps set out in the tax system or in some other way, would enable people to enjoy the property for the time they have it. This could be for decades as sea level rise is currently understood to be slow and steady.
Whatever plans are produced under the Climate Change Policy, they must be the outcome of considered discussion with the community and based on the recognized carefully prepared science of thousands of scientists, peer reviewed by their colleagues and supported by their country’s governments.