The Beagle Editor, Your readers might be interested in the following letter sent to Eurobodalla Councillors. Dear Councillors,
RE: Climate Emergency Declaration
I am a local resident of Eurobodalla. I was born at Moruya and spent all of my childhood here. After completing school I attended the University of Wollongong where I obtained a double degree in Law and Commerce (Finance). I have a PhD in international climate change law: my topic was on the prospects of litigation between countries over the damaging impacts of climate change. My case study was on Tuvalu, a small island developing state, which is expected to become uninhabitable this century due to climate change. I am the Executive Officer of the Climate Justice Programme, a charity that aims to use the law to combat climate change. I am based in Moruya and work with people around the world who are at the forefront of the climate crisis.
The threats posed by anthropogenic climate change are well known. As the climate changes, the frequency and severity of heat waves, extreme rain events, droughts, and hurricanes increase. Food and water supplies become increasingly threatened, in Australia and globally. Sea level rise threatens to inundate coastal communities, including entire nations like Tuvalu.
Already we are seeing the impacts of a changing climate, and climate litigation is emerging around the world. Recently Torres Strait Islanders lodged a human rights complaint against Australia over climate impacts. The Philippines Human Rights Commission is investigating Big Oil, Coal and Gas for allegedly violating the rights of Filipinos due to climate change.
The climate crisis is the greatest risk to human rights that humanity has ever faced. The solutions to the climate crisis require a radical transformation of human society. In order to avert the worst of impacts, we must stop greenhouse gas emissions and increase the drawdown of greenhouse gases. Governments, businesses, communities and individuals all need to act with urgency and speed. We must also keep climate justice at the centre of our actions.
Eurobodalla Shire Council has the opportunity to play a key role in leading the response to the climate crisis. Council can become a leader through the urgent mitigation of emissions and the drawdown of emissions. Council can build our community’s resilience as we face a changing climate. Council can also directly lobby the national and state governments to take urgent and appropriate action and to fund local projects that the Council can implement.
To ensure that Council holds climate justice at the centre of its response, Council needs to consider how to protect the rights of present and future generations to intergenerational equity and a safe climate. Council should ensure that the voices of young people are heard and integrated. Council also needs to ensure that there is a just transition for those who are vulnerable as our economy and society shift to address the climate crisis.
It is clear that humanity faces a climate and environment crisis that requires a mobilisation of resources similar to that seen in response to World War II. The international community has failed to take adequate action, and it may well be that we have reached a tipping point where the opportunity to prevent runaway climate change is passing out of our reach.
The decision that you make on Tuesday will impact all of our futures, especially those of our children and grandchildren. I hope you make your decision count for a safe climate.
Dr Keely Boom