What does a ‘climate emergency’ mean?

    Declaring a climate emergency is a way for government to recognise that climate change is one of the most significant challenges we are facing. It gives it a priority focus for government policy and action. 

    So far 100 councils in Australia, and many more internationally, have declared a climate emergency for their municipality. Together it is a growing campaign to advocate for state and federal action on climate policy. 

    At a local level, declaring a climate emergency needs to be quickly followed by strong and swift action, through the setting of local emissions reduction targets, and development of local action plans. 

    Why do we need to reduce our carbon emissions?

    We know global temperatures have already risen by 1.1°C. As a community we are already experiencing the impacts of this temperature rise, with extreme weather events, heat waves, food insecurity, increased flooding, energy poverty, the effects of living in energy inefficient housing, restricted access to open space areas, and impacts to air and water quality. We need to urgently reduce our carbon emissions to avoid worsening these impacts, with the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C

    Why did Council declare a climate emergency?

    In the Glen Eira 2040 Vision consultation the community told us that a green, sustainable environment is extremely important, and they want Glen Eira to be recognised as a leader. 

    For many years, we have been working hard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Council operations, and supporting the community to do the same. 

    However, earlier this year we heard from many members of the community who urged us to set more ambitious carbon emissions reduction targets and declare a climate emergency. 

    At a special meeting on Tuesday 5 May 2020, Council passed a motion to declare a climate emergency  

    What are our targets for zero net carbon emissions?

    Council has committed to ambitious new carbon emission reduction targets of: 

    • Zero net corporate (Council) carbon emissions by 2025 

    • Zero net community carbon emissions by 2030 .

    What is Council’s role in responding to the climate emergency?

    The enormity and complexity of the climate emergency challenge means that we all have a role to play. This includes all levels of government, households, businesses, industry, schools and community groups.  

    The carbon emissions generated from Council’s operations only make up a very small proportion of Glen Eira’s carbon footprint (0.6%). However, we have a unique role in facilitating and supporting community climate action. We do recognise that local government can only do so much. Advocating to the State and Federal governments for stronger climate action is important.  

    What solutions are available?

    Solutions to climate change are increasingly clear, and the global shift is well underway: 

    • Australia has the highest levels of household solar in the world 

    • Britain just experienced its first coal-free week since the industrial revolution and has pledged to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2025.  

    • Costa Rica has produced around 95% of its electricity from hydro, geothermal, solar and wind over the past four years.  

    However, little changes that we make day-to-day can have a great impact. For example, choosing GreenPower, reducing our reliance on heating/cooling and lighting, using sustainable transport, planting the right trees and plants. 

    For more information on climate change solutions, visit The Climate Council’s website at www.climatecouncil.org.au 

    How can Council support me to cut my carbon footprint?

    We can support you in many ways – and we are always open to new suggestions: 

    • We can provide information and advice on how to live more sustainably and cut your carbon footprint through workshops, webinars, events and booklets.  

    • We can help to support sustainable behaviours by building more bike paths and creating safe school zones.  

    • We can provide services to help cut your waste. An example is our food scrap recycling service that was introduced in 2018. This means you can put food scraps in your green bin. 

    • You can also access free mulch for your veggie patch from the Glen Huntly Park 

    • We can also provide some (limited) financial incentives like rebates and water-saving products.  

    What is the purpose of the new Strategy (2021-25) being developed?

    The four-year draft Our Climate Emergency Strategy 2021-2025 sets out the strategic direction on how Council responds to the climate emergency and achieves its targets. It guides both corporate action and how we’ll support the community. 

    The Strategy is supported by a Our Climate Emergency Strategy Action Plan. The Action Plan includes detailed programs, projects and actions to meet the high-level goals and vision set out in the Strategy.

    How much funding is available?

    In 2020-21, Council’s operating budget for the sustainability program is $663,000. Additional funding is allocated to capital works projects. Depending on the community’s feedback, it is possible for this budget allocation to increase in future years.  

    How will my feedback be used?

    The feedback from surveys, workshops and other activities will be used to refine the high-level goals and objectives in the Strategy, as well as the actions in the Action Plan.

    What has Council already done to reduce its carbon footprint?

    We’ve worked hard for a number of years to reduce carbon emissions generated from Council operations. We’ve also delivered a number of programs to support the community to live more sustainably. For more details, download the 'Our Environmental Action' fact sheet in the Document Library.