Councillors Reject 6-Month Delay for Climate Change Report

On Tuesday 9 February Thames-Coromandel councillors rejected a staff recommendation for a six-month delay before the council received a report on its response to the climate crisis.  Instead, they voted 6/3 that the report must be presented by April.  Congratulations to councillors Christie, Morrissey, Walker, Gotlieb, Rodley, and Sinclair who voted for the earlier April date.  Mayor Goudie and councillors Maclean and Fox voted for a six-month delay.

See the councillors deliberations at the meeting here (starting at 1.00.16)

 In December 2020, the High Court ruled that TCDC had acted unlawfully in April 2019 when it resolved not to sign the Local Government Climate Declaration (which has been signed by 68 other councils).  The Court ordered TCDC to reconsider its decision. 

The Mayor and TCDC were told by the Court that climate change and the measures required to reduce emissions, “are of the highest public importance” and require “substantial mitigation steps to be undertaken immediately.”

Despite the clear message from the court emphasising the high significance and urgency of the climate crisis, the recommendation from Council staff was that a report on TCDC’s response to the High Court decision could be delayed until August 2021.  Fortunately, a majority of councillors voted 6/3 to reject that recommendation and instead required that staff present the report by April 2021.

Nearly two years ago in April 2019 TCDC resolved that it would “scan” what other councils were doing to reduce their emissions and subsequently formed a “working group”. (Dozens of councils have comprehensive climate emission action plans and have set targets for reductions). After just 3 meetings in the last 2 years, TCDC’s working group has yet come up with any proposals as to how it will reduce its own emissions.

The working group will meet again on 10 March. Will we see any concrete actions to reduce emissions approved for inclusion in the long term plan? That will be the real test.