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Are We There Yet? NSW local governments’ progress on climate change

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Local governments are responding to top-down policy initiatives from both federal and State governments to reduce emissions, and adapt to any potential impacts of climate change. Although climate change is clearly a global problem, many of the solutions will be implemented at the local level. To explore this issue, the aim of this research was to examine regional variation in climate change response across New South Wales (NSW). To this end, between September 2010 and September 2011, we reviewed publicly available council and regional documentations for all NSW councils. The indicators of response examined were based on the NSW Greenhouse Plan (2005). These were awareness-raising, emissions reduction and adaptation planning. It was found that councils were undertaking many practical projects to fulfil the goals of this plan. As a result, they are abating significant quantities of emissions. Adaptation is progressing through the development of risk-based climate change adaptation plans. Councils are addressing particular areas of management, such as water management, assisted by guidelines which incorporate consideration for climate change as part of best practice. While overall responses to this threat are progressing, a distinct urban bias in action has been observed, due to biases in policy and funding arrangements.
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Keywords: Local government; adaptation; climate change; emissions sustainability; greenhouse; municipalities; policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Environment Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, Australia

Publication date: April 3, 2014

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