20 September 2019
The Central Otago District Council will consider whether to declare a climate emergency in Central Otago at its meeting on 25 September.
On 14 August pupils from St Gerard's School in Alexandra made a presentation to Council requesting that Council declare a climate emergency in Central Otago. A number of councils in New Zealand have recently considered similar requests.
The report to Council by Executive Manager – Infrastructure Services Julie Muir notes that "Council is committed to providing climate change leadership regardless of any decision around a declaration".
Council has been working on understanding, mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change since 2017 when it commissioned a report on climate change implications for the Central Otago district by Bodeker Scientific.
A resilience plan is currently being prepared to identify risks to critical council infrastructure, and actions and funding required to improve the resilience to events such as those caused by climate change.
Council adopted a Sustainability Strategy in February this year that outlines steps it will take to be more sustainable, and includes measuring Council's carbon footprint through the Certified Emissions Management and Reduction Scheme and then setting a goal for reduction of carbon emissions.
Other specific actions taken recently include installation of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations; the introduction of hybrid vehicles to Council's fleet: district wide replacement of streetlights with LED lights, and contributing to a heat transfer system between the Molyneux Aquatic Centre and Ice Inline.
Central Otago District Council also supports Local Government New Zealand's plans to lobby government, and is a signatory to the Local Government Leaders' climate change declaration.