David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: The Toronto Declaration is a voluntary agreement that involves commitments by local government to greenhouse gas reductions of 50% or more.

TARGET DATE: The Toronto Declaration was negotiated in June 2001 at the Toronto Best Practices Exchange. As of 22 April 2002, 50 Australian Councils and Local Government Associations have endorsed the Toronto Declaration.

PROGRESS: Achieved.

DESCRIPTION: The Toronto Declaration is a voluntary agreement I helped to negotiate in Toronto, Canada in 2001, which involves commitments by local government to greenhouse gas reductions of 50% or more.

As a participant in the Toronto Best Practices Exchange held during the Toronto Smog Summit held in Toronto, Canada, June 17-20 2001, I was a member of a subgroup that negotiated the Toronto Declaration.

From that meeting, I undertook to seek ICLEI Australia-New Zealand's involvement in promoting the Toronto Declaration in Australia-New Zealand.

Through ICLEI Australia-New Zealand's advocacy, as of 22 April 2002, 50 Australian Councils and Local Government Associations have endorsed the Toronto Declaration.

With the assistance of ICLEI-Australia/New Zealand, Dr. Robyn Leeson and I presented the Toronto Declaration to participants at the recent ‘Local Leaders, Local Solutions’ 2nd National CCP™ Conference at the City of Charles Sturt in South Australia, where it received a supportive response from participants.

Since then the following local authorities Australia wide have signed the Declaration as a commitment to the ongoing action underway in both their corporate operations and within their municipalities. The Declaration was submitted to the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP7).

An Action Plan to support the Declaration has been developed by ICLEI Australia-New Zealand as a means of ensuring further co-ordinated and substantial action. The Toronto Declaration Action Plan can be found on the ICLEI ANZ website by double clicking here: Toronto Declaration Action Plan Australian Statement




WE, THE REPRESENTATIVES OF 16 local governments from 12 nations from around the world,

PARTICIPATING in the Best Practices Exchange, sponsored by the City of Toronto, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), the Canadian International Development Agency, Enbridge Consumers Gas, and Toronto Hydro Energy Services held during the Toronto Smog Summit held in Toronto, Canada, June 17-20, 2001;

AFFIRMING the important role that local governments are playing in assisting national governments to implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC):

REFLECTING the conclusions of the recent IPCC Third Assessment Report that:
• The global average surface temperature has increased 0.6 degrees Celsius over the 20th century;
• There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities;
• The globally averaged surface temperature is estimated to rise 1.45 degrees Celsius to 5.8 degrees Celsius over the period 1990 to 2100, a projected rate of warming without precedent during at least the last 10,000 years;
• Global warming is likely to lead to greater extremes of drying and heavy rainfall and increase the risk of droughts and floods that occur with El Niño events in many different regions;
• Global mean sea level is expected to rise 0.09 to 0.88 metres between 1990 and 2100.

SHARING grave concern about the threat of climate change to cities and life on the planet, and determined to continue our initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the ongoing assistance of our national governments,

HAVING SHOWN over the past decade that significant progress can be made at the
local government level towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions reductions, as
evidenced by substantial absolute and per capita emissions reductions that have occurred
locally accompanied by positive air quality, economic, social, and health benefits,

DO HEREBY present this Declaration to the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the FCC taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, October 29 to November 9, 2001.

Threat of Climate Change to Local Governments
1.1. Within the next 100 years it is estimated that 75% of the world’s population will live in cities. Climate change is the most serious long-term environmental threat to cities and their residents, as well as to global security;
1.2. Public health in cities will be adversely affected by the increasing spread of infectious diseases and the incidence of heat-related illnesses associated with extreme heat waves. In addition, cities that experience increasing summer heat will be at greater risk from higher ozone levels and particulate concentrations.
1.3. Threats to life and property from extreme weather events of increasing frequency and intensity, such as flooding due to intense precipitation and from rising sea levels are likely to become more commonplace under future climate change.
1.4. Municipal infrastructure—such as water supply and sewage treatment—are vulnerable to change in regional levels of precipitation, snow pack, sea level rise, and fluctuations in water levels in large inland bodies of fresh water, such as the Great Lakes.
1.5. Some urban economies are reliant on natural resources such as agriculture,
forestry, and fisheries will be significantly affected by climate change.

Accomplishments by Local Governments
2.1 Along with Toronto, a number of other cities at this Best Practices Exchange
have already surpassed their country’s Kyoto target, for example: Copenhagen has
achieved a 23% emissions reduction from 1990 baseline and Berlin has reduced emissions
17%. Through their energy efficiency and climate protection efforts, cities participating
in the Exchange have all reduced per capita greenhouse gas emissions as
measured against a 1990 baseline.

Communiqué to United Nations Conference of Parties 7th Meeting, Morocco, October 29 to November 9, 2001.

To be submitted to Local Authorities worldwide for their approval for submission to the Conference of Parties

WHEREAS, Local governments worldwide have been leading the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, over 500 local authorities worldwide are participants in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives Cities for Climate Protection campaign, and more than 700 local authorities are members of the European Climate Alliance. Over the past decade, these and other local authorities have taken action and are making significant progress towards achieving climate protection goals;

WHEREAS, The experience of local authorities is that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is economically beneficial and improves the quality of life. These reductions come from increased energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, waste reduction, air quality improvements, smart land use patterns, and green space protection. Cities that are pursing these strategies effectively are enjoying robust local economies;

WHEREAS, Commencing at the Rio Summit in 1992, 186 national governments concurred that climate change was one of the most serious threats to the health of our planet, and ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC).

Through the ratification of this Convention, national governments agreed:

"The ultimate objective of this Convention … is to achieve … stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner."

AND WHEREAS, worldwide emissions reduction of at least 50 percent would be required to stop the rise of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere;

THEREFORE, Local authorities believe this is not the time for national governments to be wavering on their commitments to reduce the threat of global climate change. The scientific consensus that human action is causing significant damage to the planet has never been more clear;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Local Authorities urge national governments to act upon this commitment immediately. By their ratification of the FCCC, national governments acknowledged the seriousness of this global problem. Yet since ratification, international progress has been stalemated, and global emissions continue to rise.

AND THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Local Authorities pledge to continue our collective efforts to reduce existing emissions and lower future emissions growth. Achieving emissions reductions in the range of 50 percent worldwide, necessary to solve the problem, requires a true worldwide partnership of national governments, local governments, citizens, and business. We urge our national governments to take this issue seriously and to act on their commitments made through their ratification of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Can be found at the ICLEI Australia-New Zealand website.


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

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