Climate change is a significant challenge for local governments across Australia, requiring adaptation to changing conditions as well as action to reduce local energy use and carbon emissions. In December 2019 Council declared a climate emergency, calling on the State and Federal Governments to act to urgently reduce emissions, increase resources for firefighting and help local governments to adapt.
Adapting to Climate Change
The Shire recognises that our climate is already changing and there is a need to adapt and prepare for hotter, drier conditions in coming decades. CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology publish regular updates on climate change measured to date and projections for our future. The WA Department
of Primary Industries and Regional Development also publishes climate projections for specific regions.
Adaptation is about taking action to avoid, manage or reduce the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. Changes recorded in our region include lower annual rainfall and changes in rainfall patterns, a longer drier bushfire season, and increases in average temperatures. Improving bushfire risk mitigation and preparedness is a high priority for our area.
The Shire has a Local Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan which provides a framework for actions across key areas and addressing threats to infrastructure.
Reducing Energy and Emissions
In 2018 Council adopted an Energy & Emissions Reduction Strategy that focusses effort on Shire operations and facilities, starting with actions that can reduce ongoing energy costs. Shire staff are switching lights to more efficient LEDs, adding solar panels to facilities, looking at more efficient vehicles (and electric vehicles in future as costs reduce) and advocating for Western Power to replace inefficient streetlights. Significant savings have already been made on energy for the Shire Administration Centre, with solar panels to be added to other large facilities in 2020.
While the Shire is focussed on reducing its own carbon footprint, we also encourage community efforts to reduce energy use and emissions. Residents, schools and businesses can access energy and sustainability information and discounts through the Shire's membership of the Switch
your thinking program. The Shire also participates in Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) sustainability initiatives, including preparing Energy Efficiency Tips for Residents.
New houses should have good insulation and be designed with thermal comfort and energy efficiency in mind. The Shire's Passive Solar Building Design guide provides an introduction to energy saving design features. Some features can also be adapted to retrofit existing buildings.
Sustainability means finding a balance between environment, economy and society, and looking for ways of living which benefit all of these areas. The Sustainable Living Guide provides a book of ideas for sustainable ways of living and describes reasons for making lifestyle changes, to help you understand why making these changes is worthwhile.