Sydney officially declares climate emergency

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The City of Sydney has officially declared a climate emergency.

Councillors voted in favour of a motion put forward by Lord Mayor Clover Moore on Monday evening, stating that climate change poses a serious risk to Sydneysiders, as well as the rest of Australia.

“Successive Federal Governments have shamefully presided over a climate disaster, and now we are at a critical juncture – we face a climate emergency,” Ms Moore said.

"Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have increased for four consecutive years. It is clear that the current Federal Government's policies are simply not working and I call on council to declare a climate emergency.”

Sydney is the latest council to declare a climate emergency, joining 24 other Australian local governments, as well as global cities including London, Auckland and Vancouver.

Greenpeace Australia said it welcomed the move, with Deputy Director Nic Seton praising the strong show of leadership.

“Mayor Moore has called the climate emergency for what it is, and in doing so has thrown down the gauntlet to State and Federal Governments who are still pandering to the fossil fuel industry,” Mr Seton said in a statement.

“The global movement of climate emergency declarations coming from a local level proves that change is coming, and it's coming from the ground up.”

Alexandra Neville, a member of the Sydney Break Free climate action group, praised the efforts of environmental activists pushing for action on climate change. 

“As Mayor Moore’s declaration has shown, we can’t sit on the sidelines any more,” said Ms Neville. “In the face of the climate emergency, it’s up to all of us to find the courage to respond with actions that meet the scale of the crisis.” 

“From the school strike movement to Extinction Rebellion, all over the country and the world, people are finding the courage to stand up and demand meaningful action to address the climate emergency.”

By 2020, the City of Sydney aims to use 100 per cent renewable energy, and plans to meet its 2030 target of cutting emissions by 70 per cent six years early in 2024.