Mitigation - Addresses the causes of climate change - reduces the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."
At the meeting, councillors were addressed by two of the Benalla P-12 College student captains, Jessica Patterson and Lachie Sands. Benalla GP Dr Gerard Brownstein, and Benalla Sustainable Future Group (BSFG) president Peter Holmes.
Councillors asked many questions of the presenters, and all indicated their acknowledgement that climate change was indeed a threat to our community's future health, social and economic wellbeing.
However, at the conclusion of the discussion, a motion was moved and passed by all councillors that the petition be noted, that the council recognizes that climate change is one of the most significant issues that will impact the social, cultural and economic and environmental health and wellbeing of our community and will act accordingly with all policies and programs of the council, and that council further considers its position on climae change during the upcoming review of the Benalla Rural City Climate Change Adaptation and Action Plan 2013-2025.
BSFG, and no doubt the wider community know that we are very disappointed with this response from our elected leaders.
Despite overwhelming worldwide evidence of the catastrophic climate-related events in recent years, and the most recent IPCC report noting that "this is the last decade the world has in which to drastically reduce greenhouse emissions in order to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius", council's motion contains no indication of urgency whatsoever, and no demonstrable target to work towards in relation to reducing greenhouse emissions.
In fact, the motion, in referring to the review of Council's Climate Change Adaptation Policy, 2013-2025, as its principal document of reference for climate change, basically indicates that council will make plans about what to do "after the hourse has bolted", rather than developing plans to stop the horse bolting.
We need a Climate Change MItigation Plan to be developed, a point that was made consistently by speakers on Wednesday night.
BSFG will continue to advocate vigorously for action on mitigating climate change.
Therefore, on behalf of the Benalla community, we declare that the world faces a climate emergency, and must drastically reduce its greenhouse emissions by 2030, and Benalla must play its part in striving for these emission reductions.
BSFG calls for expressions of interest from representatives of the many key stakeholder groups across the community which will be affected by climate change, to join a community consultation "Climate Change Mitigation" group to develop ideas and plans to lead Benalla towards a net-zero emissions future, preferably by 2030.
To register interest in participating, email BSFG at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name, contact details and areas of interest.
Peter Holmes, Benalla