14 Apr 2016 — EXCELLENT NEWS: We are celebrating tonight as Coffs Harbour City Council has voted to retain their 25% Renewable Energy Target for 2020! Hurrah!
Thank you to to everyone who called and emailed Councillors, signed the petition and came along to the meeting tonight! You made the difference!
Thank you to the Councillors for making the right decision for the community and the climate.
Although the motion to retain the target was passed unanimously in the end, the discussion was controversial - and there is clearly work to do in bringing all Councillors fully on board with renewable energy and climate action. It is likely that without the efforts of Coffs Coast Climate Action Group members and supporters, the target would have been cut - so thank you and congratulations all! This is a great win for community power and should encourage us all to keep active and build momentum for bigger wins for a safe climate.
For those who are interested in how the debate played out: The meeting was opened with a passionate address from Andrew Grey representing Coffs Coast Climate Action Group. After some discussion, Cr Keith Rhoades moved a motion to reduce the target, seconded by Denise Knight. Both expressed economic concerns. Their motion was not supported by other Councillors. Sally Townley's motion to retain the existing target, seconded by John Arkan, was then passed unanimously. Special thanks are due for Crs Townley, Arkan, Cowling and Sultana who held strong on the targets throughout. Note than Cr Degens, Palmer and Innes were all absent.
We will need to keep the pressure on Council to make sure these targets are now actively implemented and even expanded beyond Council's own emissions, to include getting the whole community to zero emissions.
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For now, celebrate!
For immediate release
16th April 2016
Climate Action Group commends Councillors for standing by Renewable Energy Targets
There were celebrations among local supporters of renewable energy on Thursday night after a marathon Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.
The Council Chambers were packed out by members of the public over concerns about a proposal to reduce Council’s renewable energy target for 2020 from 25% to 10%. After extensive debate, Council voted to retain the targets previously adopted.
Dr Andrew Grey, a local psychologist, addressed the Council meeting, emphasising that any backtracking on targets would be “a significant breach of community trust”. He described a delay in action as loss for the planet, a loss financially and a loss to the image of Coffs Harbour. He called on Councillors to “show you have integrity, and to capitalise on an amazing win-win opportunity. Be a part of a positive legacy in the future of your grandchildren. For the sake of the community, your grandchildren, the planet, and not least your political credibility, keep it at 25%.”
This view was endorsed by 650 community members through a petition delivered to Council earlier that day.
At the meeting, Cr Keith Rhoades and Mayor Denise Knight moved to reduce the 2020 renewable energy target to 20%. This was met with rumblings from the crowd, and the motion did not receive support from the other four Councillors present. This was followed by a successful motion by Cr Sally Townley, seconded by John Arkan, to retain the targets previously adopted.
“We are delighted that Council has listened to the community and to the overwhelming evidence in favour of renewable energy. The targets are entirely achievable, affordable and an essential part of our responsibility to act on climate change. We now look forward to seeing the implementation of the Renewable Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan without delay,” said Liisa Rusanen, a local mother and member of Coffs Coast Climate Action Group.
“With climate change already destroying our coral reefs and impacting people through more intense droughts, bushfires and other extreme weather, we can’t afford any more delays in cutting carbon pollution,” Ms Rusanen added, “Clean energy is an investment in our future. Coffs Harbour Council can lead the community in a transition to 100% renewable energy and help keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
Catie Dale, mobile 0413 211 162
Liisa Rusanen, mobile 0403 646 787