Cairns Regional Council Climate Change Strategy 2010-2015
The Cairns region is an area of unique natural beauty, surrounded by tropical rainforests, beaches, mangroves, mudflats and coral reefs.
Climate change will affect many aspects of the natural environment and the industries on which the region depends, making it a critical issue for the future of the region.
Council aims to become a leader in mitigating and planning for climate change and peak oil, and in doing so aims to provide guidance and inspiration for the broader community.
Likewise, the region is vulnerable to peak oil impacts due to its isolation from major centres and sources of goods and services.
This strategy provides a clear direction for Council and the community in responding to climate change and peak oil, and maps a course towards a resilient, vibrant and sustainable future for the region.
Climate change is the most significant issue facing human civilisation.
Warming of above 2°C is predicted to cause runaway climate change triggering “tipping points” in the Earth’s systems resulting in irreversible climatic and ecological changes.
Immediate action is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to begin to prepare communities for a changed climate.
Climate change responses need to encompass not only emission reduction and
adaptation measures, but also behaviour change, economic restructuring, and building social cohesion and resilience.
The predicted impacts of climate change on the Cairns region include increasing temperatures, decreasing annual rainfall, increasing rainfall seasonality, rising sea levels, and more intense tropical cyclones.
Such impacts have the potential to undermine the region’s economy which is heavily reliant on nature based tourism.
Sea level rise and increased cyclone intensity are very likely to affect Council and community assets, and need to be considered in planning decisions.
Council has identified the importance of addressing climate change and peak oil and the need for a Climate Change Strategy in the current Corporate Plan 2009 – 2014.
The preparation and adoption of a holistic climate response in the form of a strategy, addresses and acknowledges the vulnerability of the region to these impacts.
In addition the Strategy presents key actions to be implemented to mitigate the impacts of climate change and peak oil on the region.
The purpose of this strategy is to provide clear direction for responding to climate change risks and challenges.
This strategy builds on Council’s existing climate change policies and programs including the Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan and the Greenhouse Mitigation Action Plan.
This strategy will be assessed and reviewed annually to ensure it is based on the latest science and policy information.
Responding to climate change is the responsibility of all areas of Council, and will require a coordinated, collaborative approach in order to successfully make the transition to a low carbon, low oil and sustainable future.
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