Congratulations to Orange City Council for showing leadership on climate change.
At last Tuesday's council meeting, council passed a motion proposed by councillor Stephen Nugent: "To develop a strategic policy on council's future response to climate change, including mitigation, adaptation and risk management issues."
Councillor Nugent is to be commended for his leadership and perseverance on this issue.
The reasons for his campaign are expressed in his statement:
"This decision is about good governance and risk management. Climate change is happening, and it is the biggest risk councils face over the next 20 years. Council passing this motion gives us the opportunity to identify any gaps in what we currently do, mitigate the impact of climate change where we can, and be proactive about adapting to the changes that lie ahead.
"It is just good business practice. Plus it provides exciting opportunities for council in terms of leadership. innovation and cost savings. The future should see an acceleration of council's uptake of renewable energy, reduction in our energy bills, and better air quality through reduced pollution, giving significant economic and health benefits."
Development of a strategic policy on climate change will require a lot of hard work and dedication from our councillors and staff.
The first step is for all councillors to become familiar with the science of climate change.
From their recent public responses to the issue, it is evident that there are some who are unfamiliar with climate science.
Fortunately, this can be easily addressed as there is local expertise available to bring councillors up to speed.
It must be acknowledged that council has made progress on climate change adaptation and mitigation through such projects as solar panels on council buildings and the LED street lighting project.
This is an indication of a desire to find practical solutions and is something council can build on.
Another important step is to communicate with other councils who have developed successful climate action strategic plans.
By doing so, our council can adopt already tried strategies, avoid "reinventing the wheel" and become part of a growing number of local councils who have pledged to address climate change at a local level.
Community support and input is also essential for policy success.
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