Bay of Plenty is the latest region to declare a climate emergency.

Bay of Plenty Regional Councillors agreed at their Council meeting yesterday, to declare a climate emergency and work with the community on transitioning to a low carbon future and adapting to our changed climate. The decision includes investigating a specific Climate Change Fund. Regional Council also adopted a Climate Change Action Plan last Tuesday at its Regional Direction and Delivery Committee meeting.

Councillor Paula Thompson, Chair of the Regional Direction and Delivery Committee, said she felt very strongly about this issue.

“I think that climate change is best summarised by environmentalist Bill McKibben who said that ‘Climate change is the single biggest thing that humans have ever done on this planet. The one thing that needs to be bigger is our movement to stop it’,” she said.  

“We are already seeing the effects of climate change within our region, including sea level rise and increased flooding, and these are likely to get more serious over time. This declaration demonstrates to the community that we’re listening to their concerns and have recognised climate change as a serious issue for this region. We are firmly committing to action, and encouraging others to do the same,” Councillor Thompson said.

The approved Climate Change Action Plan and report on declaration options considered by Regional Council are available in the agenda pack for Tuesday 25 June on the Regional Direction and Delivery Committee page at     

Local Government New Zealand estimates that $1 spent on risk reduction saves at least $3 in future disaster costs by avoiding losses and disruption.

Bay of Plenty has joined more than 600 jurisdictions across 13 countries in declaring a climate emergency. In Aotearoa New Zealand this includes Auckland, Canterbury, Christchurch, Kapiti Coast, Nelson, Wellington and earlier this week Dunedin and Hawkes Bay. 

Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Climate Change Action Plan lays out new and deliberate climate change actions that Council will be taking. It builds on the wide range of work Council already has underway to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. The Action Plan directs Council to adopt a stronger emphasis on incorporating climate change considerations into its decision-making, which was identified as a key priority by the community through submissions to the Council’s 2019/20 Annual Plan. The Action Plan also proposes an organisational mitigation target to be carbon neutral by 2050. Regional Council is also set to introduce five electric buses to the region’s public transport network this August.

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