Climate emergency declarations not matched by council actions

There has been a recent fad for councils around the country to declare climate emergencies, but these declarations are at risk of being seen as ‘me too’ posturing without any significant change – in fact there are indications that some councils are walking a different walk, and expect others to actually do something about climate change and it’s effects.

Stuff:  Councils declare climate emergencies, but will it result in any real change?

Councils around the the country are declaring climate change emergencies, but questions are being raised over whether the move will create any tangible change.

Scientists and activists believe the declarations will be meaningless unless they’re backed up by solid action, offsetting criticism the measures were purely tokenistic.

Hutt City Council became the latest in an ever-growing list of local government agencies in declaring a climate crisis on Thursday, joining Wellington City, Hawke’s Bay, Kāpiti and Porirua councils.

Wellington city councillors opposed to the emergency declaration claimed the measure was “preachy” “nonsense” and an example of “green-washing”.

While Victoria University Wellington climate scientist James Renwick believed the move “put a stake in the ground” and underscored the seriousness of the issue – he said definitive action was needed.

Local Government NZ president Dave Cull said councils were at the “front line” of combating climate change, but there was “no national framework” for how local bodies should tackle the issue.

Really? beyond the talk and the declarations, is much actually being done?

Some things are being tried, but they could be counter productive. Cull is mayor of Dunedin, where there has been a program of installing cycle lanes around the flat parts of the city, but there are scant numbers of cyclists to be seen on most of these, and traffic congestion has worsened – which increases use of fossil fuels.

“Declaring a climate emergency acts as a catalyst for urgent action. It’s a way for councils to increase focus on this issue, and call for greater national support on climate change adaptation.”

Cull’s own council has just declared an emergency: DCC votes to declare climate emergency

At a full council meeting which began at 1pm, councillors voted 9-5 to declare the emergency and accelerate efforts to become a carbon neutral city.

The council had aimed to reach a net zero carbon target by 2050, but would bring that forward to 2030, councillors decided.

Most councillors spoke strongly in support of declaring the emergency, while only Crs Lee Vandervis, Mike Lord and Andrew Whiley argued against it.

Cr Aaron Hawkins said the council had been hearing from “countless” people and organisations for years, calling for action.

Progress had been too slow “and meanwhile the clock is ticking”.

“This needs to be at the front and center of all of our decision-making. A business-as-usual approach is not just inadequate, it’s effectively intergenerational theft.”

Mayor Dave Cull also backed the move, saying the city needed to keep pace with the changing scientific consensus to avoid “a point of no return”.

“The cost to council is not whether we do. The cost to council will be if we don’t do anything.”

That sounds like standard Green rhetoric.

The debate prior to the vote was stacked with pro-emergency spokespeople.

There were applause and cheers as Jennifer Shulzitski, of Extinction Rebellion, urged councillors to act now.

But the applause grew louder still as four young pupils from North East Valley school boiled the issue down to blunt terms.

But this declaration clashes with Dunedin City Council flying high with third highest travel expenditure in country

The Dunedin City Council has racked up the third highest spend on travel expenditure among all New Zealand councils.

It spent $347,885 on air travel in 2017-18 – $214,067 on domestic travel and $133,818 on international.

That puts Dunedin third behind much the much larger councils of Auckland (which spent $1,221,571) and Wellington ($591,310).

A council spokesman told Stuff there were several reasons contributing to the air travel expenditure, including the council’s size and geographical location.

“Many important meetings, conferences, training courses are held in Auckland or Wellington, and are therefore not easily accessible by other modes of transport.”

The spokesman said while the council did not currently offset travel emissions, “we do have a range of strategies and initiatives in place aimed at reducing carbon emissions across the city”.

The council’s declaration of a climate emergency and bringing forward its goal to be a net carbon zero city by 2030 would also “make us look even harder at where we can reduce our travel costs and/or offset travel emissions”.

Something more substantial than ‘looking ‘even harder’ is required to match their climate emergency rhetoric.

Also last week QLDC declares climate emergency

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has voted to declare a climate emergency after a presentation by Extinction Rebellion Queenstown Lakes.

Good on Extinction Rebellion for getting into the act here as they did in Dunedin, but again this is one-sided public consultation.

Members of the public were packed into the council meeting this afternoon where the motion was passed 7-4 as part of the council’s consideration of its Draft Climate Action Plan.

Extinction Rebellion said in a statement last week it was “asking the council to use its role as a community leader to clearly communicate the reality of what we are facing and what needs to happen to our local community.”

Queenstown growth relies on tourism which relies to a major extent on air travel, so QLDC is not likely to make major moves against the use of fossil fuels.

The QLDC also narrowly voted 6-5 to receive Queenstown Airport Corporation’s controversial Statement of Intent (SOI), while inserting a clause requiring ongoing discussions over possible expansion.

So QLDC has voted in support of a possible airport extension whole voting for action on climate change.

It is election year for mayors and councillors, so a ramp up in climate rhetoric is to be expected.

Significant action is less likely, and talk of the costs of actions is likely to be avoided at all costs. Rate rises is a contentious enough issue as it is.


Someone else talking the talk was Robert Guyton in this podcast – Maureen Howard’s Eco Living in Action – 27-06-2019 – Declare a State of Climate Emergency – Robert Guyton, Councillor, Environment Southland

Robert is one who does more than talk the talk.

Message to The Standard

I had a wee dabble at The Standard yesterday, and was on the receiving end (again) of it’s resident dirty attacks. Some of it is so pathetic it is hilarious – at one stage I was called a liar for posting a published poll result but not linking to what eventually turned out to be a completely irrelevant poll – that is with ‘adam’ here.

Other dirty activists had attacked as usual – in particular the regulars ‘One Anonymous Bloke’ and Robert Guyton who happen to be Green supporters (and have been doing it for years), and also the ever bitter ‘marty mars’ who doesn’t seem to have a party extreme enough to support these days.

So I responded, and as ‘weka’ (another Green supporter) is likely to waste her time doing something in response I’ll also repeat it here.


I think it’s worth repeating this (in Open Mike 06/08/2017) here, a response to marty mars: (on another thread where it happened):

“contributes to a toxic environment for the left here with his incessant fault finding and attack posts against the left”

Very funny – or do you actually believe that?

I only occasionally post here. You and a few others frequently post here, creating a toxic environment of the left, attacking many people you judge to not be suitably left, or something.

You (collectively) deter far more people from voting left than i ever will, because they are not the right sort of left for you, not left enough, or just that you make an ill-informed judgement.

I first came to The Standard thinking it would be a good place to join in the rebuilding of Labour after Clark lost in 2008 and then departed Parliament. I was mistaken. This has been a toxic, small minded, dirty unwelcoming place.

There are good people here, and interesting comments at times, but it has been dominated by persistent petty regulars who burn off anyone deemed some sort of enemy.

It has changed, probably because more moderate centre-ish people have been driven away or can’t be bothered with the toxicity.

What is obvious now that, while there may be a few Labour try-hards, the dirty politics here is now dominated by non-Labour supporters like marty mars, OAB, Robert Guyton, who all regularly and persistently attack anyone deemed some sort of enemy.

It’s pathetic, and it’s counter productive. Even if there is some intent to drive off potential Labour voters that is cutting off your nose to spite your face, and certainly won’t encourage people to vote Green or Mana.

This is a toxic environment without me, I just pop in occasionally to see if anything has changed. Obviously not.

I’ve voted both Green and Labour, but I and I think many others who pass by here certainly wouldn’t encouraged to do so again by the bitter and twisted attack dweebs who dominate threads here.

Ardern and Davis have given the first sign in a decade that Labour may be able to climb back into prominence again. But it looks like they will struggle to get any help here with so much toxic self destruction further to the left going on.

If Labour supporters (and anyone genuinely wanting a change of government) want to do something positive to rebuild the party they should stand up more to the crap perpetuated by a few spoilers here.

The Essential Forest-Gardener

Robert Guyton has been writing a very interesting series of posts at The Standard on The Essential Forest-Gardener.

Robert is a sustainability pioneer who along with his family grows the oldest food forest in NZ. A long time organic gardener, permaculturist and heritage orchardist, he’s a columnist, a regional councillor for Environment Southland, and an early climate change adaptor. 

I must have a good read through this. I have space for a forest garden and would like to improve land use and food production.

 

Standard posts so far:

The Essential Forest-Gardener

Guyton food forest

Robert Guyton begins a weekly series on life in a Riverton food forest.

The Essential Forest-Gardener – chapter 2

The Essential Forest-Gardener – chapter 3

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The Essential Forest-Gardener – where to start

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The Essential Forest-Gardener – tools of the trade

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This week looking at untooling and letting nature do the work.

The Essential Forest-Gardener – what grows in the forest?

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The Essential Forest-Gardener – “don’t destroy life”

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Exploring diversity, stability and the concept of Complexity Gardening.

The Essential Forest-Gardener – the trees and the heritage

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All posts here: https://thestandard.org.nz/tag/robert-guyton-forest-gardener/

Also: Thriving 23-Year-Old Permaculture Food Forest – An Invitation for Wildness

In the small town of Riverton at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island is Robert and Robyn Guyton’s amazing 23-year-old food forest. The two-acre property has been transformed from a neglected piece of land into a thriving ecosystem.