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Wellington City Council to debate climate emergency declaration

Wellington City Council looks set to join the growing list of cities declaring a climate emergency.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the city wants to attach any declaration to a plan. Photo: RNZ / Aaron Smale

The council will debate whether to declare a climate emergency tomorrow – at the same time as it considers a new strategy to make the city carbon neutral by 2050.

Mayor Justin Lester said recent feedback showed 92 percent of self-selecting residents support urgent action on climate change.

“We haven’t declared earlier like other cities, because we actually want to attach it to a plan,” he said.

The declaration and plan told council staff to make sure they’re thinking about climate change and emissions in their work, he said.

The first steps for the city were to make it easier for people to change how they get around, and how they power their homes and businesses, Mr Lester said.

Councillor Iona Pannett said it was not about forcing people to change their ways – rather, it’s about the council making greener options easy for people to use.

“So good cycleways, good systems for disposing of waste and re-using of resources, making sure we provide good regulation for building and so on. Individuals can only do so much,” she said.

The emissions that came from building that infrastructure needed to be tracked and offset, and materials re-used where possible, she said.

RNZ