Following the recommendation from the Climate Action Committee to the Waikato Regional Council to lower its in-house greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030, a consistent and transparent process for incorporating climate change implications into Council’s work programmes and decisions has been adopted.
Practice notes will be developed to cover both the preparation of policy advice and operational decisions, and climate change impact statements will be included in council committee reports where appropriate.
While many WRC some business units already consider the impacts of a changing climate in their decisions, a decision-making framework, using current best practice and learning, is required to ensure a transparent and consistent approach.
Guidance and training for staff will be developed to ensure consistent interpretation. This will give myself and other elected representatives confidence that policy advice from officers and operational decisions have addressed climate change matters.
Waikato Regional Council elected representatives and staff routinely make decisions that affect the region’s environment, economy and communities. The outcomes of these decisions may be affected by climate change or may prevent opportunities to mitigate or adapt to climate change.
- Mitigation actions address the root causes of climate change by reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
- Adaptation activities seek to lower the risks posed by the consequences of the changing climate.
To make informed decisions within its overarching sustainable development mandate (the ‘four wellbeings’ of the Local Government Act 2002), the Council needs –
- timely and evidence-based information about the possible consequences of climate change,
- people’s perceptions of those consequences,
- adaptation options for increasing community resilience to changes that are happening and
- opportunities for slowing the rate of climate change through greenhouse gas reduction and sequestration activities.
This new mandatory decision-making framework will ensure that climate change and climate action will be front and centre for all future decisions made by the Waikato Regional Council.