East Gippsland Shire Council signs TAKE2 Climate pledge

The following is taken from the Shire’s recent EnvironmentConnect publication:

“At the November 21 meeting, Council resolved to pledge its support for the Victorian Government’s TAKE2 initiative as follows:

“East Gippsland Shire Council is committed to tackling climate change. We have a role in maintaining, protecting and enhancing the regions environment. We do this by using our resources more efficiently, by reducing our everyday impacts, planning for changing conditions and encouraging the people of East Gippsland to do the same.”

“TAKE2 has been developed as a part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to climate change. It is a collective pledge and community awareness program to help Victoria reach zero net emissions by 2050 to keep global temperature rise to below two degrees.

“There is already strong community support for the TAKE2 initiative with businesses and individuals across East Gippsland already participating in the initiative. Across East Gippsland 93 pledges have been made, giving East Gippsland the highest number of pledges across the Gippsland region. With the top three pledge actions being: buy products that include recycled content; install insulation in ceilings, walls and/or floors; and install solar photovoltaic panels.

“We encourage East Gippsland individuals, business, government, educational and community organisations to visit the TAKE2 website, make the pledge and make a difference to help Victoria reach net zero by 2050.

The Take2 pledge is a small step in the right direction. It is a recognition that climate change exists, is a problem and that something must be done about it. As usual there was opposition from some members of this very conservative body to take this small step. Until Labors’ election in 2014 local government was the leader in climate action – a role that has largely been taken over by the State of Victoria.

The Bairnsdale Advertiser (1.12) noted Cr Ben Buckley “questioned the fear factor of the pledge” although he did not elaborate on what this ‘factor’ was. Ben is of the school that current climate change is a natural phenomenon and not induced by human activity – demonstrably untrue as I hope to show in a later blog. He is certainly not alone in this as almost half the population of Gippsland incorrectly attributes climate change at least partially to natural causes. This shows a widespread lack of knowledge about the greenhouse effect. Even so Cr Buckley voted for the motion to sign.

Cr. Ellis in turn was worried that a change of government in 12 months (elections are due November 2018) would have a deleterious effect on the shire if it signed. It then emerged that it was more likely that the shire would suffer financially if it did not sign and a planning officer stated “that it’s not unusual for government to link grant funding to policy issues…We do it ourselves, through our community grants.”

Again this is a small step in the right direction and we thank the Shire for taking it and Sustainability Victoria for making it available. But let us bring the ‘netzero’ target forward to 2030.