Kapiti Environment: Kapiti College students were part of the push to have Climate Change declared an emergency.
Greater Wellington Regional Council agreed unanimously on an ambitious package to tackle climate change, combating the impacts already being felt across the region, at its Council meeting on August 21.
Greater Wellington Chair Chris Laidlaw says Council is confident in declaring a climate emergency now that there is a clear plan for a carbon neutrality target and additional action plan to tackle climate change in the region.
"There is a small window for action to avoid the most damaging effects of climate change. This is the biggest environmental challenge we have ever faced and it effects everyone.
"We are the environmental guardians in this region – we are going to need to mobilise other councils and stakeholders to ramp up action."
Greater Wellington agreed to set a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, backed by a Corporate Carbon Neutrality Action Plan, and agreed to take a leadership role in developing a Regional Climate Emergency Action Plan.
"Accelerating the implementation of an electric bus fleet and a fully-electric corporate vehicle fleet, as well as allocating resources to accelerate reforestation planting in our regional parks, are just some of the measures we set out in our action plans.
"Every significant decision the Council makes will consider a robust analysis of whether the proposal would increase or decrease our carbon emissions" Cr Laidlaw says.
Greater Wellington Environment Committee Chair Sue Kedgley says "I am delighted we have joined the growing movement of Councils and organisations around the world in declaring a Climate Emergency and that we have set an ambitious target to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.
"Our region is extremely vulnerable to climate change and it is essential we take a leadership role on climate change."
Research commissioned by Greater Wellington shows since records began in 1890, sea levels have risen nearly 30 centimetres in this region which represents over 30 per cent of the tidal range.
Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Roger Blakeley says the sea-level rise is already having impacts on our communities and infrastructure in coastal areas.
"This is a call to action. A report by NIWA for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in 2015 found that over 12,000 people in the Wellington Region would be inundated by a three metre rise in sea level, which would have a $NZ 8.6 billion impact on the capital value of properties.
"Our actions can help avoid the worst outcomes but it is vital we start reducing emissions now as it will take decades to decarbonise the regional economy in the most just and equitable way."