Sample resources for CED motions at local councils

These samples of Climate Emergency Declaration (CED) resources provide a starting point to give you ideas about what to include in your own deputation speeches, petitions, emails to Councillors, and council motions. None of these are perfect! But you might like to pick out the parts you like and modify the local-specific content to suit your own region.

Petitions

Most councils will only accept hardcopy petitions for tabling at a council meeting, so check your local council’s website for details. But, tabling a petition is really only helpful if you have not managed to persuade a Councillor to propose a CED motion yet.

Online petitions are useful though for attracting attention to your council CED campaign and reaching out to potential supporters. If you don’t have access to a convenient petition mechanism you can ask us to set it up under your own name on our ActionNetwork account and/or embed it on our website.

SAMPLE PETITION:
See the Adelaide Declare! petition for possible preamble and petition demand. (Keep the petition demand part short if you are also going to collect hardcopy signatures because the demand will need to be printed on every petition sheet.)

Council CED motions

Below are three examples of recent CED motions that successfully passed. If you pick out the best parts of each and change local details to suit your region, we think you’ll have a pretty good motion, but ultimately of course it is up to the Councillor who proposes the motion to decide what to include. You can also see the CED motions passed by other councils in various countries on our global page.

We suggest you aim to include the following main elements:
– reference to the IPCC Special Report, recent increases in carbon emissions, and/or other indications of the urgency of taking action
– acknowledgment of local progress by your local council so far
– a clause clearly declaring or acknowledging the Climate Emergency
– a resolution to draw up a comprehensive action plan
– a focus on community-wide emissions reduction and engagement, not just council’s own operations
– a resolution to encourage other councils and higher levels of government to also take action

SAMPLE CED MOTIONS:

Gawler Town Council, passed 22 January 2019

That Council:
a) notes the October 2018 Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);
b) notes the Federal government’s latest emissions data showing we are increasing, not reducing our carbon emissions;
c) notes the recent data published by 202020 Vision Plan ‘Australia’s Suburbs Most Vulnerable To Extreme Heat’ and by the Australia Institute report ‘Heat Watch: Extreme Heat In Adelaide’, both reported in recent editions of the Advertiser, that Gawler is rated as one of Australia ‘hot spots’ for urban Heat Islands; that South Australia will be subject to the worsening effects of climate change due to global warming; and that Adelaide has the highest level of heat related mortality in the nation.
d) acknowledges that the Gawler Council Area is likely to be adversely affected by climate impacts, such as heat waves, bushfires, drought and floods according to local data and that provided by numerous reports and agencies such as BOM, CSIRO, Australia Institute and 202020.
e) declare that we are facing a ‘Climate Emergency’ and that urgent action is required by all levels of government.
f) joins the growing number of councils in Australia and worldwide who are declaring/acknowledging that we face a Climate Emergency and who are both accelerating and giving priority to policy and actions that will provide for both mitigation and adaptation in response to accelerating global warming and climate change.
g) develops a Climate Emergency Action Plan and Community Climate Emergency Plan to further enhance resilience and reduce climate impacts in a timeframe that is as fast as practicably possible. This should include councils emergency response to extreme weather events, particularly heat waves, that includes providing safe shelter refuges for the most vulnerable in our community such as the homeless, and checking of the well-being of the aged and the infirmed. The foundation of such a Plan(s) is to include community consultation.
h) Seeks that a report on this matter be presented to the March Council meeting outlining a work program, timeframe and budget (as required) for further consideration.

Light Regional Council, passed 26 March 2019

That Council:
1.Acknowledges we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including local Councils.
2.Declares a climate emergency and in doing so accepts that the containment of climate change and its serious social and economic implications is a duty of utmost priority.
3.Factors in the impact on the climate in all its dealings and will, whenever possible, attend to those issues as a matter of priority, which do have the potential to mitigate climate change and its implications.
4.Orients itself in all future actions to combat climate change on the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
5.Establishes a working group to develop a broadly based response to this emergency

Adelaide Hills Council, passed 26 March 2019

That Council:
1.Notes the October 2018 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;
2.Notes the Federal government’s latest greenhouse gas emissions data shows Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions have increased compared to 2012, not decreased;
3.Recognises we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including by local councils;
4.Reaffirms its commitment to both mitigating against and adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change within the Adelaide Hills Council;
5.Commits to finalising the Carbon Management Plan by December 2019 and that it includes a target of 100% renewable energy for the Adelaide Hills Council (as an Organisation) by a defined date;
6.Requests the CEO write to State and Federal Members of Parliament which represent the Adelaide Hills Council region, advising them of Council’s resolution and request they also act with urgency to address climate change.

Deputations at Council meetings

Most councils require that you register a couple of days in advance if you wish to address a council meeting (give a deputation) from the public gallery, so check you council’s website for details. This is a powerful thing to do to show public support when there is a CED motion on the agenda, particularly if you can also pack out the gallery with supporters. Ideally the person giving the deputation will be a local resident (but there can be more than one deputation, so it might be helpful to also arrange for a local climate scientist to speak).

Generally there is a time limit of 5 minutes, but short and sharp is best (3-4 minutes).

SAMPLE DEPUTATIONS:

You can see Zel Whiting’s deputation speech at the 16:05 minute mark here. (And if you want to see the negative arguments you might expect from some Councillors, the debate at the Adelaide City Council starts at the 1:08:30 mark.)

Gemma Weedal’s deputation speech notes are below, but note that is probably too long!

Deputation to Marion Council Meeting – Climate Emergency Declaration
• Introduce myself and why I care about this issue
o Marion Council resident, live in Hallett Cove with my partner
o Love living in this area, particularly our stunning coastline
o First developed an understanding of the seriousness of the climate emergency around 10 years ago after attending an environmental conference and learning about the climate science
o Potential dangerous impacts were terrifying, but also learned that we have the solutions to solve crisis – just need the will – and that gave me hope
o Since then, been committed to advocating and campaigning for effective climate action
• Member of grassroots community group FFSA, thank Council for your support of the Accelerate film screening at the Marion Cultural Centre last week
• Recognise that a number of concerned community members have come along tonight to show support for motion – great turnout even at short notice shows the breadth of community concern around this issue
• Acknowledge the great work Council is already doing in this area and for demonstrating climate leadership
o Climate change policy
o Resilient South partnership
o Work in energy efficiency & renewables – installation of solar, lighting upgrades and hybrid vehicles in fleet
o Coastal climate change management, Water management, Greening
o Community education & engagement
• These are all excellent initiatives, Marion well placed to take the logical next step of declaring a climate emergency in recognition of the urgency and scale of problem, and to be amongst the first Councils in SA to do so
• IPCC Special Report – a wake-up call indicating that we all need to do more as quickly as possible
• On track for almost 4 degrees of warming globally, need to keep to 1.5 degrees to avoid worst impacts of CC
• Scientists recognise that the maximum safe level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 350ppm – levels are now well over 400ppm
• Climate change is here now – human activity (largely burning of fossil fuels) has already resulted in the planet being 1 degree warmer than average
• Already seeing devastating impacts across the planet –displacement of populations, drought-induced famine, disappearing Pacific Islands, unprecedented habitat & species loss and increased extreme weather events
• In Australia, over the Summer we have seen devastating floods, bushfires, mass fish deaths, livestock species loss and record-breaking heatwaves – this is becoming the new summer norm in a warming climate
• The BOM announced that Jan was the hottest month in history in Australia and Adelaide broke the record for hottest temp in any capital city on that sweltering 47 degree day
• Locally, climate change will mean more extreme heatwaves, increased bushfire danger, reduced rainfall but increased flood risk, sea level rise in coastal suburbs like Hallett Cove, coastal erosion and storm surges
• Councillors, there is no doubt that this is a climate emergency
• An emergency scale crisis demands emergency style solutions that match the scale and speed required
• Unfortunately we no longer have the luxury of small, incremental steps (winning too slowly is same as losing)
• 80% of fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground for a chance of saying below 2 degrees of warming, and we need to urgently transition towards 100% renewable energy
• But we can’t start implementing the solutions that are needed until we tell the truth about the scale and urgency of the problem – this takes courage and leadership, and is absolutely necessary
• Asking Marion Council to continue its leadership in this field, but not asking to do something unprecedented
• 400+ councils globally have already passed similar motions declaring a Climate Emergency, including 12 so far in Australia
• Adelaide CC, Adelaide Hills, and Light Regional also having motions on the agenda tonight
• A Climate Emergency declaration issued by a body in authority, such as a government or local council, can be a powerful catalyst for community-wide action if paired with a clear action plan
• The current global wave of local councils declaring a Climate Emergency is finally providing an element of hope and an action pathway, thereby channelling the energy, focus, and resources of their communities towards resolving the emergency and restoring safety
• By passing this motion, you will be setting a powerful example, empowering your community to act and encouraging other councils to follow suit
• The other week, thousands of students took to the streets of Adelaide demanding that adults step up and take stronger action on climate change for the sake of their future. They joined 150,000 around Australia and 1.6 million globally – biggest day of climate action in history.
• These kids have learned about the climate science in school, they’ve seen the weather getting more extreme – but the action from governments isn’t matching up with the urgency of the problem
• Nothing is more worrying than governments failing to take the climate emergency seriously and getting on with the actions we all know are necessary and available
• Local councils declaring a Climate Emergency and committing to action is giving them, and everyone else, a ray of hope
• Leave you with a quote from inspiring Swedish teen climate striker Greta Thunberg
Adults keep saying: “We owe it to the young people to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.

Emails to Councillors

Emails are best if they are from local residents and if they include a request to discuss in person. Tailor your email to reflect the current situation:
– either ask the Councillor to consider proposing a CED motion and ask to meet to discuss that
OR
– if a CED motion is already on the agenda, wait till the agenda is published (probably just a few days before the meeting) and then email the Mayor and all Councillors to ask them to support the motion.

SAMPLE EMAILS:

If you want to persuade a Councillor to consider proposing a CED motion, CACE-Council Action in the Climate Emergency has prepared a sample email here.

If you already know a CED motion will be on the agenda, the email text below might give you some ideas. For an up to date count on how many councils have declared globally and in your own state, see https://www.cedamia.org/global/.

Dear Lord Mayor Verschoor and Councillors,

Yesterday Zel Whiting (an Adelaide School Striker) and myself met with Clr Robert Simms and Michelle English to ask Adelaide City Council to declare/acknowledge that we face a Climate Emergency that requires everyone, Council and the wider community, to take urgent action.

Adelaide City Council has already been taking leadership on climate for many years, and in particular with the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Plan, so we think you are in a great position to also join the growing wave of local councils globally that are declaring a Climate Emergency. Typically they are committing to develop even more ambitious action plans – plans that go beyond council’s own activities to also engage their communities in an empowering sense of shared action.

So far almost 400 local councils in 5 countries, including 12 in Australia, have passed Climate Emergency motions. The global list includes major cities like Los Angeles, Vancouver, and London, but so far no Australian capital city councils have done so. We’d love Adelaide to be the first!

Gawler Town Council is the only SA council to have passed a Climate Emergency motion so far, but Adelaide Hills and Light Councils both have such a motion on the agenda for their March meetings.

As I’m sure you know, thousands of School Strikers took to the streets in Australia last November, and thousands more in Europe as well more recently. A massive global student strike day is this Friday. The scariest thing about the Climate Emergency is that, until recently, no level of government seemed to be taking it seriously. Action brings hope. The local councils that are declaring a Climate Emergency and committing to urgent action are providing the first ray of hope in an otherwise very frightening time.

As a capital city council you are in a great position to have a huge influence on other councils, the state and federal governments, and on the general public. A brief explanation of the importance of making a public declaration is at Why Declare?.

I hope you will support our request for Adelaide City Council to take this vital and inspiring step. I’m more than happy to discuss this further with you if you wish.