The current evidence suggests that the world's climate is changing. It is now widely accepted that human activities are contributing to global warming and climate change, which can produce significant physical effects. Some of the effects from climate change are already happening; some are inevitable and will become more severe if humans do not modify their behaviour.
Since 1950 Australia has experienced a warming of 0.4 to 0.7°C, with more heatwaves, an increase in the intensity of droughts, extreme weather events and less rainfall in the south-west of Western Australia. Australia is already experiencing impacts from recent climate change with increasing stresses on water supply and agriculture and is expected to face more severe extreme events with more intense and frequent heat waves, droughts, floods and storm surges.
Local governments have a key role to play in helping communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. Local governments can help their communities to adapt and can adjust their own business and lead the local community on climate change adaptation, involve local people and promote ecologically sustainable development.
The Town of Victoria Park recognises the significance of human-induced climate change and acknowledges that mitigation and adaptation actions need to be undertaken to ensure the Town is well positioned to respond to the predicted impacts of climate change.
In the past the Town of Victoria Park has been involved in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives’ (ICLEI) Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Program, having achieved milestones one through five.
Under the CCP, an inventory and forecast of council and community greenhouse gas emissions had been produced, a reduction target for the corporate and community sectors of the Town had been set, a Local Action Plan for greenhouse gas reduction has been developed (the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy 2003), and many of the actions and strategies set by the Plan to reach its determined targets implemented, namely:
- Carbon Neutral Biosequestration for fleet
- Purchasing of green power for several major facilities within the Town, such as the Administration Building, Aqualife, Library and Depot.
- Changing to LCD Screens/activating energy star installation of timers on appliances, and motion sensors for turning lights on and off in some office areas.
- Down-sizing some fleet vehicles from six cylinders to four cylinders.
- Changing to metal halide globes on new streetlights.
- Staff multi‑riders (free for company travel and lunchtime use).
- Staff pool bikes (available for use for short trips rather than a car).
- TravelSmart programs.
- Undertaking energy audits of office buildings.
Since the dissolution of the CCP, the Town has continued its commitment to adapt to climate change. Council signed the WALGA Declaration on Climate Change, a voluntary opportunity for the Town to demonstrate political commitment to locally appropriate climate change management, and to participate in a sector-wide leadership approach.
In 2018, Council declared a state of climate emergency for the Town.
In recognition of this declaration and the need to demonstrate leadership to reduce carbon emissions within the region and reduce the adverse impacts of climate change for its residents and the associated environment, a Climate Emergency Plan has been prepared for the Town.
The Town's Climate Emergency Plan(PDF, 11MB) aims to:
a. Achieve a zero-carbon target for emissions generated by the Town of Victoria Park by 2030 (The timeframe of 2030 has been chosen because it is the timeframe needed to curb emissions and limit the seriousness of climate change impacts.).
b. Achieve at least 40% emissions reduction through direct action (i.e. not through carbon offsets).
c. Support the community and businesses in working towards their own zero carbon target.
d. Improve the resilience of the Town in responding to immediate climate change impacts.
The Climate Emergency Plan includes three core components:
a. Council Action Plan – How the council can take direct actions to reduce their carbon impact (mitigation) and adapt to the immediate impacts of climate change within the Perth context whilst providing support for the community and businesses to reduce their own carbon footprint.
b. Community Action Plan – Provides the community information on the average emissions profile for Australian households and how they can calculate their own footprint, ways residents are already reducing their emissions, and steps for individuals and households to reduce their emissions.
c. Business Action Plan – Provides the Town’s local businesses with information on sources of large emissions in business operations and how they can calculate their own footprints as an organisation, information on what Australian businesses are already doing to reduce their emissions, and steps on how they can reduce their organisation’s emissions.