The City of Sydney Has Declared a Climate Emergency, Urges Urgent Action

The city joins 658 other jurisdictions who are calling for urgent environmental action.
Jessica Miley

The City of Sydney in Australia has officially declared a climate emergency.

The local council, led by Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, voted to acknowledge that climate change poses a serious risk to the city, its inhabitants and to the rest of the country.

The council will call on the Federal Government to introduce a price on carbon that will assist the country to meet its Paris Agreement responsibilities.


Back in 2007, the City of Sydney announced its long term plan for the city, Sustainable Sydney 2030, which showed that 97 percent of Sydney's residents wanted strong action on climate action.

“We set a goal to reduce our emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and following the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, we set a more ambitious goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050”, Moore said.

City meets targets early

Sydney became the first carbon neutral council in 2007, and as of June 2017, emissions have been cut by 25 percent.

The council is on track to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2020, a goal that was initially set for 2030. The council is also petitioning Australia’s federal government to form a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find appropriate alternate employment.

The city of Sydney joins 658 jurisdictions in 15 countries who have declared a climate emergency.

Many cities and governments around the world are using the action of declaring a 'climate emergency' not only to set their intentions for future emissions reduction but as a way to draw attention to the critical nature of the environment.

Other environmental advocates are calling for media and politicians to stop using the phrase 'climate change' and instead use the more accurate one - 'climate crisis.'

In Paris, in the year 2016, Australia committed to reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. However, emissions levels have been on the increase every year. The federal government's own projections show that they are not on track to meet the Paris agreement.

Australia in denial about Paris

Australia is one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the developed world. The four areas where emission reduction is supposedly being targeted is transport, industry, agriculture, and electricity. Emissions related to electricity have dropped 11 % in the last decade.

This is mainly due to the retirement of gas and coal-fired power plants and the boom in renewables. However, the current Federal administration in Australia has just approved plans for a new coal mine to be built in the state of Queensland.

The approval of the mine could pave the way for an additional six more to be built in the area.

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