AAEE Climate Emergency Statement

Climate change is real and the expected outcomes made clear in countless reports are happening now. Global average temperatures, atmospheric greenhouse gases, and ocean acidity are already at dangerous levels. The impacts of climate change are causing serious loss of life and destroying the ecosystems that we rely upon for our collective wellbeing and economic prosperity.

All levels of government must act now and discontinue those climate-changing policies that put us all in even greater peril. We have advocated for comprehensive education for sustainability for 40 years, and have a range of outstanding educational programs and associated material to offer all school and community sectors.

The Australian Association for Environmental Education calls on all Australian federal, state, and territory parliaments and all local councils to:

  • declare a climate emergency;
  • commit to providing maximum protection for all species, ecosystems, and economies, and to fully restoring a safe climate;
  • mobilise the required resources and take effective action at the necessary scale, and speed;
  • transform the economy to zero emissions, and make a fair contribution to drawing down the excess carbon dioxide, and;
  • contribute to actions by other governments around the world to take these same actions.

We also call on our members to continue to work with their employers to declare a climate emergency, and where possible support the national climate strikes.

  • Our members who work for local government can encourage their Council to declare a climate emergency by using the resources from Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation in Action (CEDAMIA) at https://www.cedamia.org/
  • Our members who work in early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary education can encourage their workplaces to support the national climate strikes
  • Our members who work in private enterprise can encourage their workplaces to support the national climate strikes by joining the Not Business as Usual Alliance at https://www.notbusinessasusual.co/

AAEE Executive Board January 2020

RESOURCES FOR LOCAL COUNCILS

The Australian website https://climateemergencydeclaration.org/ is hosted by a network of climate emergency action advocates and has excellent resources.

BACKGROUND

The Climate Emergency Declaration movement is growing internationally encouraging stronger leadership and action at both the government and non-government levels.

As at 28 Jan 2020, 1,300 local councils and larger jurisdictions in 26 countries declared a Climate Emergency. 85 of those are local governments in Australia, which represent a total population of over 7 million Australians.

Non-government organisations in Australia have also declared Climate Emergencies. These include:

  1. The Australian Local Government Association (June 2019)
  2. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) (Sept 2019)
  3. Architects Declare Australia (566 Architects) declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency (July 2019)
  4. The DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs) CPSU (Community and Public sector Union) Section Council (Sept 2019)

Below is the Climate Emergency Petition from https://www.cedamia.org/sign/

CLIMATE EMERGENCY DECLARATION PETITION - 3 LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT

To all Australian Parliamentarians and Councillors,

Given that:

  • climate impacts are already causing serious loss of life and destroying vital ecosystems
  • global average temperature, atmospheric greenhouse gases, and ocean acidity are already at dangerous levels, and
  • wartime economic mobilisations have proven how quickly nations can restructure their economies when facing an extreme threat

it is unacceptable to continue with climate-damaging policies that put us all in even greater peril. The Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal is not a safe goal.

We call on all Australian federal, state, and territory parliaments and all local councils to:

  • declare a climate emergency
  • commit to providing maximum protection for all people, economies, species, ecosystems, and civilisations, and to fully restoring a safe climate
  • mobilise the required resources and take effective action at the necessary scale and speed
  • transform the economy to zero emissions and make a fair contribution to drawing down the excess carbon dioxide in the air, and
  • encourage all other governments around the world to take these same actions.

We've risen to big challenges in the past when an emergency has been declared, with citizens and all sides of politics rising to the occasion and working together for the common good.

We call on all levels of government to do what is necessary now.