Opinion

Mooroopna climate session a positive move

By John Lewis

The issue of how to best tackle climate change seems to be gaining traction among business and industry sectors, as well as political and environmental groups.

There is now an accepted view across all sectors that a global transition towards lower emissions is necessary. In a December statement, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry acknowledged this transition had great potential benefits for business. Conversely, the chamber believes a course of no action will leave Australian business exposed, and will eventually cause harmful impacts on all Australians.

In our own neck of the woods, Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry president John Anderson recently urged businesses and individuals to plan for climate change by replacing inefficient appliances with more energy-efficient ones; use only LED low-power lighting; develop plans for reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill; and plant more trees to improve air quality and increase the amount of carbon storage.

Our council has, among other measures, installed solar panels on key municipal buildings to reduce electricity usage and greenhouse gas emissions, and has added two Nissan Leaf electric vehicles to its fleet.

These are grassroots actions that demonstrate attitudes are changing and the urge to act is gathering strength.

Whether the pace of change is fast enough is open for debate, but we believe that in Shepparton at least, people are ready and willing to step up and make changes in their personal and business lives to help tackle the problems of adapting to climate change.

However, we do need leadership at a much higher level on this issue.

Yesterday's Victorian parliamentary inquiry session into how to tackle climate change held in Mooroopna was a welcome move from the State Government.

Local councils and community groups were given a chance to discuss and explain what they were doing on the climate change front so that government could form a policy on how best to support them at a grassroots level.

Members of the bipartisan Victorian Legislative Assembly's Environmental and Planning Committee listened to speakers and then visited forest sites at Violet Town.

Parliamentary committees are part of a cumbersome process — this committee has a deadline of June 30, and the government then has six months to respond as to whether it intends to support the recommendations.

But at least something is being done to generate conversation and ideas on the vital issue of adapting to climate change.

We can only hope the Federal Government is listening.