The City of Sydney has declared a climate emergency, joining hundreds of others around the world, including London, Auckland and Vancouver.
The motion, passed by councillors on Monday night, warns that climate change poses a serious risk to Sydneysiders and calls on the federal government to urgently respond to the emergency.
It urged the government to reintroduce a price on carbon and establish a body to help move workers from fossil fuel industries to alternate employment.
“Successive federal governments have shamefully presided over a climate disaster, and now we are at a critical juncture – we face a climate emergency,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
“Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased for four consecutive years. It is clear that the current federal government’s policies are simply not working and I call on council to declare a climate emergency.”
Environmentalists have applauded the council’s move. On Tuesday, Greenpeace Australia called it a bold demonstration of leadership.
“The global movement of climate emergency declarations coming from a local level proves that change is coming, and it’s coming from the ground up,” deputy director Nic Seton said.
Ms Moore said climate action had been the council’s greatest priority for more than a decade.
“We set a goal to reduce our emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and – following the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 – we set a more ambitious goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” she said.
Work since then meant the council would achieve its 2030 target by 2024.