Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Darebin Council must act on climate

I was pleased to respond to the recent candidate survey on climate change sent by Darebin Climate Action Now (DCAN). That's because the survey highlights a key area for Council action over the next four years and beyond. While Council appears to think it has climate well under control with its current initiatives, there is much to be done that can benefit our local communities, and encourage further collaboration with neighbouring Councils to find viable solutions.

One idea I'm proposing as part of my climate policy for the next Council is a Darebin Climate Framework to be used in assessing all Council proposals for their impact on climate. There are obvious areas where this might apply such as the environmental performance of Council buildings and new developments (see below), but also less obvious ones, such as an example I encountered in my own workplace.

There a smart decision was made to prefer a certain type of computer chip over another because, over thousands of desktop machines, the cumulative savings of energy made a big difference. There are lots of decisions like that which together can start making a big difference to our impact on climate.

Another idea I have for Council is to allow developers who go the extra mile in building sustainable apartments to market those as 'Darebin Climate Friendly' provided they satisfy very strict criteria on environmental performance beyond the current 'environment lite' approach we're now getting. That sort of thing can help to set benchmarks and allow people to make better choices about where they choose to live. Naturally, I would expect such developments to adhere to the standards of community consultation and participation I have outlined in my planning policy.

In short, what I'm offering to Rucker Ward voters is the potential for an independent Councillor switched on to climate. Not only do I have a climate policy, but at the end of it are links to my submission to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper consultation, and my other writing urging strong action to address climate change. Climate change is real, the need for action is urgent, and I invite you to send questions my way to put me through my paces on this important issue.

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Comments are most welcome on any of the posts at Northcote Independent. I encourage feedback - positive or negative. Feel free to disagree, but remember that posts are moderated to ensure they are on the topic and in the spirit of open debate, as outlined in my editorial policy.