How Should Randwick Councillors Respond to the “Summary for Policy Makers” from the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? – April 3rd 2014

What is the local message for your own Randwick City Councillors from the recently released Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

The Panel has produced a “Summary for Policy Makers” document. Greens Councillor Murray Matson is asking local residents to read it and then use it to lobby himself and his colleagues with suggested policies that could be enacted at a local level.

He said,

“I am personally looking for direction as a responsible local government policy maker representing an urbanised coastal community. I am asking our residents for suggestions on how their local Councillors should respond to the Intergovernmental Panel’s latest and most exhaustive study of the dangers of climate change.”

Councillor Matson also noted that Randwick Council was in the process of drafting its 2014-2015 building program under its annual budget.


Just some issues commented on in the summery for policy makers include amongst many others:

  • Recent climate-related extremes: “For countries at all levels of development, these impacts are consistent with a significant lack of preparedness for current climate variability in some sectors”;
  • Sea-level rises: “In Australasia, planning for sea-level rise … is becoming adopted widely.”;
  • Global aggregate impacts: “…high risks around 3°C additional warming…”;
  • Human Health: “…there has been increased heat-related mortality and decreased cold-related mortality in some regions”;
  • Livelihoods: Hazards will affect poor people by “impacts on livelihoods, reductions in crop yields, or destruction of homes and … increased food prices and food insecurity”; and
  • Governments are responding: “Engineered and technological options are commonly implemented adaptive responses, often integrated within existing programs such as disaster risk management and water management.”

Councillor Matson noted that some recent Randwick Council activities or debates in relevant areas that people might want to look for possible amending or expanding included:

  • the CSLER light rail project;
  • local food sourcing through its community garden policy and the La Perouse Chinese Market Gardens;
  • beach improvements and general drainage works;
  • existing flood plain management plans;
  • coastal ecosystem concerns for the grey nurse shark and blue groper;
  • annual tree planting and flora and fauna protection budgets;
  • the Randwick Environment Park wetlands;
  • bike facilities and path expansion;
  • shop local initiatives;
  • water and energy conservation initiatives;
  • continuation of the Council’s environment levy; and
  • Council’s position on the pricing of carbon emissions.

This latest IPPC report is likely to reopen the carbon price issue amongst Randwick Councillors. Last year a successful Greens motion saw the Council writing to the Prime Minister “advocating the retention of a market based system for setting a price on carbon”.

Councillor Matson commented,

“Despite our pro carbon price resolution there are still some Randwick City Councillors who identify as climate change sceptics but I think that this latest IPCC report now makes that view untenable.”
Councillor Matson also noted that Randwick Council is in the process of drafting its 2014 to 2015 building program and provision of services under its annual budget.

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