Climate change presents a risk to the survival of the human race and other species. Consequently, it is a deadly serious issue.Justice Peter Biscoe of The NSW Land & Environment Court, Walker v Minister for Planning  NSWLEC 741 at 161
Existing climate pollution is a partial cause of storms, floods, droughts, crop failures, and higher energy, food and water bills. Federal government reforms, such as the proposed carbon tax, only deal with pollution that will be caused in the future. The Climate Institute reports that by 2020, under federal government policy, Australian climate pollution will rise about 10 per cent from 2007 levels.
Each day more pollution from suburbs like Chippendale is added to Earth’s air and waters. Earth’s temperatures are rising faster and faster because of human pollution, most of which is concentrated in cities like Sydney.
Existing and new pollution may cause Earth’s temperatures to rise above 2 degrees Celsius. The United Nation’s over 2000 scientists agree, without one dissenting opinion, that a 2 degree temperature rise will change the Earth’s and Australia’s climate and culture beyond recognition.
Chippendale’s pollution and the damage it does is substantial. Its effect on climate change is potentially serious, and may even be irreversible.
When local councils and developers make decisions and provide services they should act in accordance with the precautionary principle:
lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation … and … the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment are maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generationsProtection of the Environment (Administration) Act 1991 (NSW), s 6(2)
There is a threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage from the suburb’s food consumption, the accumulating pollution in Sydney Harbour from the suburb’s stormwater pollution, and the import of water and energy from declining resources several hundred kilometres away.
Not all of the suburb’s pollution may be fully controlled by City of Sydney Council or the Chippendale community. Residents aren’t directly responsible for all the car pollution in the major roads surrounding the suburb. This lack of complete control which Chippendale, and any community, has over the pollution it suffers, heightens the urgent need for the Council and community to reduce the pollution they do cause or can control.
Trees and vegetation in Chippendale improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide pollution from cars. By planting more trees and plants Chippendale will clean up some air pollution and reduce the damage it is causing to the health of residents and workers.
Planting more trees will shade the suburb, lower Chippendale’s summer temperatures, and the trees will live longer and grow more vigorously.
Climate scientists state that Earth’s cities have until 2015 to reduce the amount of climate pollution. If we don’t, we’ve been warned that we risk the loss of our culture and way of life. The latest data suggests climate change is happening faster than predicted, with significant impacts occurring now and increasing in the next 10 years.
To combat this serious threat the actions in the Plan need to be implemented urgently: this year. Business as usual is not an option.
Accordingly, the Plan provides for immediate, affordable trial demonstration projects to be implemented and monitored in the year ending June 2012. While modest, they are practical, achievable beginnings.
By using this plan the citizens of Chippendale will be the change both they and City of Sydney Council wish to see in their suburb, and in other suburbs across the planet.