The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reported in 2014 that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. The earth is currently experiencing an enhanced greenhouse effect that has resulted in changes to the world’s weather patterns and climatic conditions. Whilst the greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon, the sharp increase in its affect is believed to be a result of the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and land degradation, which is increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.
With the predicted rises in temperatures, there will be more noticeable impacts on our climate. Sea levels will rise as a result of melting snow and ice from glaciers and ice caps. Acidity of our oceans is increasing as CO2 in the atmosphere is being absorbed into the oceans, resulting in a changing marine ecosystem. More extreme and frequent weather events are already being experienced and over the long term, average annual rainfall levels are decreasing.
Whilst changes in climate have and will continue to occur naturally, it is important to distinguish between natural climate variability and the results of human-induced climate change. It is thought that naturally occurring events such as drought, bushfire and flooding will still occur, however, the magnitude, duration and frequency of these events is likely to increase in areas where these events typically occur, and may occur in areas that don’t currently experience these phenomena.
The Shire of Nillumbik recognises that climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing the world today and into the future.
Our actions will determine how successful we will be in adapting to an environment experiencing uncertain climatic changes.
We believe that climate change requires a global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This responsibility is shared throughout all countries and communities. Leadership must embrace this obligation and demonstrate it at the local, regional, national, and international levels through effective policies and actions.
In response to this Council has established a Climate Change Action Plan(PDF, 7MB).
We have implemented a variety of actions to tackle climate change, reduce energy and water use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A number of these actions also make our community buildings more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as higher temperatures, drought and, extreme weather events. Actions Council has undertaken to improve operational sustainability are listed below.