Climate Change

Climate change has the potential to adversely affect our community, the economy and our environment.  

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the global body of scientists who assess the science related to climate change for the United Nations – released a report highlighting the urgent need to respond to climate change. 

The IPCC warned that in order to avoid catastrophic global warming we must not reach 1.5° degrees above pre-industrial levels or, at the very minimum, not exceed that. They also warned that we could have just 12 years to limit a climate catastrophe.

The increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere contributes to global warming as a result of the enhanced greenhouse effect. How much the climate changes will depend strongly on the extent to which greenhouse gas emissions can be avoided and reduced.

Victoria is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, becoming hotter and drier in recent years (Source: Victoria’s Climate Science Report 2019).

The major climate change impacts projected for the greater Melbourne region include:

  • rising sea levels
  • increased maximum and minimum temperatures
  • more hot days and heatwaves
  • more intense rainfall events
  • less rainfall in winter and spring
  • harsher and longer fire seasons

    (Source: Greater Melbourne Climate Change Predictions, 2019)

Climate Emergency

On 18 November 2019, Council declared a climate emergency (view the Council Meeting Minutes(PDF, 860KB)  and media release), calling for urgent action to reverse global warming. This follows on from Council’s work over the past two decades to avoid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (see Council’s Towards Zero Emissions Plan(PDF, 3MB) ), plus adapt to a changing climate (see Council’s Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Plan(PDF, 5MB) ).

As part of Council’s resolution, Council’s Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Plan was reviewed and further work is now planned to engage our community in climate action.

If you would like to keep up to date on Council’s climate emergency response, and to find out how you can be involved, subscribe to Council’s EnviroNews newsletter or contact Council directly.

Responding to climate change is a two pronged approach: Mitigation and Adaptation.

Mitigation

Mitigation is about avoiding and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Adaptation

While reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the number one priority in limiting the severity of climate change, planning to adapt to climate change that is already in the pipeline is also critical in helping governments and their communities prepare for the extremes that climate change brings. 

What you can do:

  • Learn more about climate change. Talk to your family, friends and colleagues and share your concerns and ideas for reducing climate change impacts and adapting to a changing climate
  • Learn about the risks to your locality, your property and prepare. For example, whether it be developing or updating your own flood plan, fire plan or heatwave plan. Get information on preparing for an emergency
  • Find out ways to reduce your impact on climate change. For example, make your home or business more energy efficient. Visit Council’s webpages on Saving Energy and Solar and Renewable Energy
  • Recycle your food waste to keep it out of landfill and to reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas – set up a compost bin or worm farm or, if you are a local resident, use Council’s kerbside food waste collection service
  • Buy local and seasonal –  every small action can have a big and positive impact, like shopping locally and buying food in season to reduce food transport and related emissions