Climate emergency declaration welcomed

Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey has welcomed the Government’s declaration of a climate emergency.

"By declaring a national climate emergency, our Government is recognising the current and future impacts of climate change and acknowledging its role in mitigating its effects.

“Our future depends on the action taken by governments around the world today," she said.

Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey

Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey

First council to declare climate emergency

In May 2019, Environment Canterbury became the first council in the country to declare a climate emergency.

Chair Hughey said the declaration ensured climate change was at the centre of the organisation’s work and Council’s decision making.

"Climate change is now robustly, consistently and visibly incorporated into our work and decisions across everything we do. This ensures we are well positioned to support our region and its communities to better understand and proactively respond to the challenges of climate change.

“We are now seeing climate change policies informing local government practice around the country," she added.

Facing head on now for future generations

Chair Hughey said climate change presented significant challenges, risks and opportunities to Canterbury, and there was an urgent need to address these now for the benefit of current and future generations.

"The science is irrefutable – climate change is already impacting ecosystems and communities around the world, with increasingly frequent and severe storms, floods and droughts; melting polar ice sheets; sea level rise and coastal inundation and erosion; and impacts on biodiversity including species loss and extinction.

“In Canterbury we are already beginning to see some of the impacts of climate change at a local level. This is why we put climate change at the heart of everything we do, from air quality to freshwater management, transport and urban development, to biosecurity and biodiversity.

"We all need to take action to fulfil our responsibilities, and we look forward to seeing fast progress from the Government."