Adaptation key for local government

By Angela Dorizas
Local Government should pursue its key role in climate change adaptation despite the defeat of an emissions trading scheme in the Senate this week.

Speaking ahead of the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) president, Geoff Lake, said local and federal government had formed a bond over the negotiations for a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

“The Government listened to and addressed the concerns ALGA raised about waste disposal during the development of the CPRS,” Cr Lake told Government News.

“Local government is a credible partner that has worked constructively to address climate change for many years.”

Cr Lake is in Copenhagen as part of an Australian Government delegation to attend the Climate Change Summit for Mayors, which will run parallel to the COP15 event.

Local government delegates are there to ensure that their leaders acknowledge the role cities and local communities play in climate change mitigation.

Cr Lake said the Rudd Government has acknowledged the work of local government in climate change mitigation, citing amendments to the CPRS, but added that the main focus should be on adapting.

“While councils should continue to do their bit to reduce carbon emissions, assuming some form or emissions trading scheme is agreed to in Australia, adaptation is the main game,” Cr Lake said.

“Local government will need to adapt to higher costs imposed by the pricing carbon and move to adopt new lower carbon technologies.”

Adaptation to rising sea levels, inundation and flooding will also entail higher costs, he added.

Cr Lake said he was confident that the Commonwealth would continue to work with local government to address climate change.

“The inclusion of ALGA in the Australian delegation highlights the strong links between local government and the Australian Government,” he said.

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