The municipal government of Sydney recently voted unanimously to enter a state of emergency over the looming threat posed by the climate crisis. The decision sees Sydney join a variety of local and national governments around the world in a movement that is increasingly gaining momentum. In total, nearly 660 local governments around the world have made the same declaration, with the UK and Canada committing their national governments to the global movement in the past two months.
The day after Sydney declared the emergency, a coalition of religious leaders openly endorsed the decision, calling for the city to fully transition to renewable energy by 2030. While interpretations differ on what a “climate emergency” means, the act is important because by making such an official declaration the city marks the severity of the matter, prompting stronger action against climate change. The issue is particularly pressing for Australia, as research suggests climate change-related devastation will cost the average Australian household some 14,000 Australian dollars per year.