To date, 108 of 537 Australian local government councils have declared “climate emergencies”. This initiative involves saving the planet, as distinct from attending to councils’ tradition role of concerning themselves primarily with the three Rs of local government: roads, rates and rubbish. A green activist site, Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation In Action (CEDAMIA) tracks all these councils on a spreadsheet. Globally, there the group boasts 2000-plus councils.
The Port Macquarie-Hastings City Council’s “Climate Emergency” declaration of March 2021 is listed at CEDAMIA’s site but the sad compilers have put a delete-line through it with the note, “rescinded 16 February 2022.”
The rescinding was, like the 1914 deed of Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, a shot heard around the world. Or anyway, enjoyed on sceptic blogs in both hemispheres. I hope it will inspire other councillors to push back against the Greens who have used their dark arts (“How Green Zealots Take Over Councils”) to marshall council assets to stoke their own socialist ambitions.
Some conservatives see these “emergencies” as harmless, albeit expensive, tomfoolery. But the underlying agenda from CEDAMIA is acutely political, namely
Significance of a Climate Emergency Declaration
Declaring a climate emergency and acting on it is a top-level ask …. If we win this ask and it is implemented properly, then this would stop new coal, oil, and gas projects, and existing ones would be phased out. Dirty power stations would be closed down as part of an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy. Energy efficiency would thrive, forests would be regenerated, habitats would be protected, air pollution health effects would vanish, public transport, cycling and EV’s would flourish, and even the Great Barrier Reef might stand a chance of regenerating.
This manifesto for dancing unicorns is backed by a plethora of activist groups that include Bill McKibben’s sinister 350.org, currently sacking scores of staff because of past budget mismanagement. In a briefing during the late-2021 election campaign in Port Macquarie, Mayor Peta Pinson described the her town’s “emergency” declaration as straight out of one councillor’s Extinction Rebellion playbook.
The detailed agenda for Australian councils after they declare their local Emergency! is recommended by the nefarious Council Action in the Climate Emergency set up by hard-line activists Bryony Edwards and Adrian Whitehead, who also claim to have founded Beyond Zero Emissions and Save the Planet. The Edwards/Whitehead formula involves “emergency” actions by council post-declaration including
♦ Climate to be No 1 priority after core council functions
♦ Training of all staff in the climate-catastrophe hypothesis from chief executive down, including training in lobbying higher levels of government.
♦ Climate propaganda to feature as lead issue in “all general council communications, including the homepage of the website and any community newsletters”.
♦ Leverage councillor support to a 60-70% “super majority” preparatory to mobilising the community for political pressure for net-negative emissions by 2030
♦ A whole-of-council review to push climate, “including reviewing council’s fund management and procurement policies”
♦ Identify and commit “all available discretionary funds that can be directed to the climate emergency response.”
Getting back to Port Macquarie, Cr Sharon Griffiths is a third-termer and 30-year small business owner. She sponsored the rescission motion and is (incredibly) quoted by the ABC, saying, “I actually don’t believe that climate change is as big as an issue as people think it is really.” She has teamed with Mayor Pinson, a self-styled “community warrior” who became the town’s first female mayor in 2017. Pinson runs the newly-elected “Team Pinson” ginger group of five on the nine-member council. She’s been on holidays and sadly incommunicado.
Phoned by Quadrant, Griffiths seemed impressed to discover her global fame. She said there hasn’t been much hostile feedback about the rescission because Emergency! supporters had their say when the Council Agenda was published. “Those people always present the same climate story and information, with nothing substantial underneath,” she says. “We’re a conservative area and we don’t like waste of council resources [on climate activity].” She’s hostile to council pursuing climate concerns about “what might be”, rather than urgent practical matters. In particular, the council should be making good on tens of millions of dollars in damage from the 2021 floods, she says. (Our interview was just before the latest floods). The ABC quoted Mayor Pinson on the so-called Emergency!: “Yes, we note that we’ve had these natural disasters but the world has had natural disasters. They’ve had it over the history of man and these things unfortunately do happen.”
She’s also quoted in SA’s Port Lincoln Times (paywalled), “We have tested community sentiment on this issue and read the room. There are pockets of people actively involved in shaking the tree, but they’re shaking the wrong tree. We need to get back to what our community expects of us.”
EVEN the federal government has no power to declare a “climate emergency”. So why,Cr Griffiths wondered, are local councils buying into it? “[Taking] budgets away from core infrastructure to address something that we have no control over — I just can’t adopt that…” In election material she explains, “Our priorities for the next term include delivering key infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer upgrades, footpaths and walkways, tidying up our parks, gardens and road corridors and laying the planning foundations for future generations.”
The city (pop 85,000) is a Nationals stronghold and said to be something of a mixed and changing bag, with greenish inner-city types moving from the cities for their sea changes alongside locals who are upholders of Aussie culture, history and flag.
Councillors were bombarded for years with “emergency” demands such as this petition from change.org :
We have been given 12 years [update: now only eight years] to drastically reduce emissions, lest our world warm to the point where humans face an existential threat. [“Existential” literally means “life or death”]
I am calling on my local council to respect the will of the people and embrace climate action. We request that you declare a climate emergency.
One of the 3900 resident signatories added, “I am signing this because it is literally do or die. For the sake of our children.” Other activists in the area include “Climate Leader” graduates of Al Gore’s Climate Reality brainwashing classes. The local activists’ shtick could be summed up in this anti-Adani tract put out by gadfly Harry Creamer, a retired middle-manager in the National Parks and Wildlife Service. As President of the Hastings branch of Climate Change Australia, he wrote (emphasis added):
We are facing a climate emergency which threatens the future of human civilisation. The critical time to act is now . A society-wide mobilisation is required on a scale and speed of the Second World War. We did it then and we can do it now. A rapid transition away from coal, oil and gas to 100% renewable energy is needed…
I had a friendly chat with Creamer after hosing down his suspicion that Quadrant is part of Murdoch’s right-wing stable. He let slip astounding information, namely that Port Macquarie is not the global first council but the second to cancel its emergency declaration. The pace-setter was Wagga Wagga (pop. 56,000). To our readers in Paraguay and other far-flung locales, it’s a farming/transport centre 460km south-west of Sydney. Here’s what went on there.
ON July 8, 2019, Wagga Wagga Council meeting began with this prayer:
Help protect our Mayor, elected Councillors and staff. Help Councillors to govern with justice, integrity, and respect for equality, to preserve rights and liberties, to be guided by wisdom when making decisions and settling priorities, and not least of all to preserve harmony. Amen.
Two conservative councillors were cases of “apology, unable to attend”, while the Almighty, if present in the chamber, remained schtum. This created an opportunity for a Labor councillor and three pals to ambush the meeting with their climate-emergency motion. They voted down 4-3 an amendment by Cr Paul Funnell to defer the emergency vote to July 22, when all councillors could be present. The council then resolved 4-3
that climate change poses a serious risk to the people of Wagga Wagga and it should be treated as a national emergency.
With typical green/Left disregard for personal freedoms, the four also demanded that council staff be re-educated on climate alarmism and council resources be diverted to re-educate ratepayers into the new “climate emergency mode.”
Disharmony from the debate included Funnell dubbing parents who dragged their kids to green-religion climate rallies as child abusers, and a challenge to the alarmist ex-journo mayor Greg Conkey OAM to try doing the 900km round trip to Sydney in an electric car. (He succeeded). Godless signage soon went up around town castigating the Labor-led four as ‘sell-outs’. For the July 22 meeting, ranks swelled from seven to nine with the return of Crs Tim Koschel and Rod Kendall, and in short order Cr Paul Funnell had the “Emergency!” scotched 5/4.
It was all quite a stir in a conservative city which regularly votes in the federal National’s Michael McCormack (Riverina), a 2018-21 Deputy Prime Minister with a disdain for the climate narrative.
Melbourne retired geoscientist Geoff Sherrington has downloaded for us temperature data both Port Macquarie (114 years) and Wagga Wagga (144 years), which you can see here, along with the century-plus rainfall trends. It’s perfectly obvious that neither district is getting anything out of the ordinary from weather’s perpetual ups and downs, notwithstanding the long cycles of droughts and floods. Anyone blathering about climate emergencies there needs to consult the graphs – showing about a 1degC rise in a century with no obvious acceleration.
Climate “emergencies” concocted under CEDAMIA’s tutelage are just one way councils are being got at. Tim Flannery’s Climate Council has mobilised 165 gullible councils (including Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga). They seemingly endorse “a thriving, zero emissions future” under the aegis of Cities Power Partnerships (its blurb doesn’t even say “net zero”). Flannery and his Climate Council deliver nonsense to local governments casting every adverse weather event, sea surge and bushfire as “climate-fuelled” and preaching that the way to create nice weather is to abandon coal, oil and gas.
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Tony, thank you for highlighting this.
I was particularly intrigued by the suggestion that the Australian federal government can’t declare a climate emergency (or words to that effect), hence the focus on local councils by the climate obsessed.
That set me to wondering about all the climate emergencies declared by UK local authorities as they seek to virtue-signal ahead of delivering services to their residents. I am not (and never was, even before I retired) a local government lawyer, but I do know that they have to act within the powers conferred on them by statute, and must not act ultra vires. Ironically, perhaps, the local authority for the area where I now live was at the heart of a major administrative law case that reached the Courts before I moved here, dealing exactly with this ultra vires issue: the 1996 Court of Appeal case of Credit Suisse -v- Allerdale Borough Council. The details are a little hazy now, a quarter of a century after I read about in the legal press, but I think the gist of it was that the Council borrowed money from Credit Suisse to develop a timeshare at Keswick, which failed badly. The Council managed to avoid paying the money back by successfully claiming (the chutspah!) that the development, and borrowing money for it, was ultra vires and therefore unlawful, and being unlawful, the Courts couldn’t order them to repay the money.
I digress, but returning to the point, I wonder what powers the Councils in the UK claim to rely upon when declaring climate emergencies and spending taxpayers’ money on their pet climate projects?
And speaking of Councils:
“Climate change: Aberthaw Power Station bought to secure green energy”
“A former coal-fired power station could be transformed to produce green energy and create thousands of jobs.
Previous owners RWE stopped generating electricity from coal at Aberthaw Power Station in 2019.
But Cardiff Capital Region, which represents the 10 councils in south Wales, has bought it for £8m hoping to create a “beacon of energy security”.
The plan is to develop the 500-acre site at a cost of £36.4m, with the hope of creating 5,000 jobs.”
Well, they say that’s the plan, but then they go on to say this:
“The immediate plans for the Vale of Glamorgan site include a solar farm and extraction of minerals from the ash mound, built up from decades of coal burning.
Plans for the future could include so-called giga-factories, building the batteries needed to power electric vehicles.
CCR is expected to consider whether green hydrogen could be made on site, another renewable energy alternative to putting diesel or petrol in our cars or using gas to heat our homes…
…”This is about being ambitious, being quite bold. This isn’t something that you’d expect the public sector to do every day,” said CCR director Kellie Beirne.
“The whole rationale of us acquiring this site is that we are in the game.”…”.
As with the timeshare development in Keswick and the energy companies set up by local authorities, which have now gone bust – what could possibly go wrong?
An allied program to the UN Habitat Sustainable Cities Programme is ICLEI the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. Section 7.21. Agenda 21, specifically recommends involvement with ICLEI, not surprising since ICLEI was responsible for preparing the Local Council section of Agenda 21.
A lot of local councils have already adopted Agenda 21 initiatives under names like ‘A Greener City.’ What these programs envisage is a way of life in cities across four domains of ecology, economics, politics and culture, the sustainable city that will feed itself with a sustainable reliance on surrounding countryside, power itself with renewable energy and produce the smallest conceivable ecological footprint and climate change impact.
In my home town in OZ, the Melbourne City Council is already on board with new building codes for sustainable development. More high-rise development along public transport systems, punitive rates charges on single dwellings, bike zones on main roads and controls on energy use, twin planks of technocrat control, land use and energy, item 7.3, in their Greening City Policy.
7.3.1 Introduce five-star energy ratings for all new residential buildings into the Victorian Building Regulations, and promote and encourage the inclusion of new energy efficiency standards for commercial development in the Building Code of Australia
7.3.2 Implement planning policies on renewable energy, starting with guidelines for wind farms, in order to integrate the Government’s policy of support for renewable energy resources across the State with the planning system
7.3.3 Support the development of a series of energy-efficient, greenhouse friendly demonstration projects, for example, Epping North as a sustainable suburb
7.3.4 Ensure that all Major Projects Victoria developments incorporate high levels of energy efficiency
7.3.5 Update the Victoria Planning Provisions and related guidelines to reflect and support the goals and directions of the Victorian Greenhouse Strategy
7.3.6 Introduce changes to Victoria’s planning and building systems that will be needed to help adapt to the impacts of climate change – following the completion of a three-year CSIRO research program funded by the Government