Wellington Shire Council and Climate Change

An article in the Gippsland Times on Monday 31 July noted the Wellington Shire had pledged to tackle climate change. The article stated: “Wellington  Shire Council has signed up to the state government’s TAKE2 pledge to tackle climate change and assist Victoria reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Council has pledged to provide leadership to the Wellington Shire community to help manage climate change and move towards environmental sustainability.”

It added that the  “Council wants to take action and support local action by using resources wisely and reducing the impact on the environment” and “Council has committed to undertaking 30 actions in the areas of natural and urban environment, culture and leadership, community, transport and fleet, waste, renewable energy, strategic and statutory planning and energy efficiency.”

The TAKE2 pledge is organised by Sustainability Victoria – one of the forward looking departments of the Victorian State Government. However as in many large organisations there are competing and conflicting interests within the Government and this small ray of enlightenment remains mostly overshadowed.

The Government is yet to recognise that their achievements in reigning in greenhouse gases are minimal and token if they are unable do anything about coal, where they are keeping their options open for further mining and not planning for the rapid phase out of brown coal generation in the Latrobe Valley. Similarly they hold on to the clearfell logging of our much depleted native forests where huge amounts of our carbon store are lost to the atmosphere in the process each year. And in the case of the Wellington Shire a guest blogger recently noted the huge amounts of CO2 the Esso Longford Gas plant operations put into the atmosphere.

The pledge is admirable and a small step in the right direction. It recognises the science – that climate change is happening and that we are causing it. However one must eventually understand the process and realise that drastic steps need to be taken to drawdown our production of CO2. Each day we fail to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and fail to protect our carbon stores, brings us closer to the climate emergency. Bring the target date for zero emissions forward to 2030 and we may have some chance of avoiding it.