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Climate Change To Be Included In All Council Decision Making

Waikato Regional Council is future-proofing all its programmes, actions and activities by incorporating climate change considerations into decision making.

Councillors yesterday unanimously agreed that an assessment of climate change implications would be included for consideration in reports to the council.

Chair Russ Rimmington, who described the move as ground-breaking, says councillors make important decisions that have far reaching implications for the region’s environment, its economy and communities.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge we have coming at us and it affects a wide range of our activities, infrastructure and services. We need to know where we can reduce our emissions and understand our options for adapting to whatever climate change throws at us.

“Understanding the impact of climate change on our communities and economy, and making good decisions early, is key to ensuring a healthy environment, a strong economy and the safety of our communities.”

Cr Jennifer Nickel, who is the council’s Climate Action Committee chair, said climate change was already part of core business but the move would support councillors and staff to be better in this space and in the right way, by using a transparent and consistent approach based on evidence.

“We made climate change one of the big strategic priorities ... we discuss it pretty much all the time.”

The framework will be used for all decisions on investment in infrastructure and assets, community and corporate services, and access to natural and physical resources and space.

Council reports will need to include a brief summary of how climate change has been considered in relation to reducing greenhouse gases and increasing community resilience, and what the council might do to reduce emissions or build greater resilience.

Councillor Tipa Mahuta described climate change as a “unique conversation of this generation” and said the council’s move meant “we are now in the right conversation”.

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