DCC to vote on climate change action

The Dunedin City Council is about to decide its stance on climate change action.

The vote at Monday's council meeting - ahead of next week's climate talks in Paris - will consider a motion tabled by Cr Aaron Hawkins outlining actions the council could take to combat climate change.

The motion lists four specific actions: asking the Government to commit to a 40% reduction on 1990 carbon emissions by 2030 at the Paris talks; helping develop ''a clear action plan to achieve that target''; signing an international agreement for cities committed to acting on climate change; and asking the Government to put a moratorium on deep sea oil and gas exploration and extraction in New Zealand.

Cr Hawkins said the Paris talks were ''the best chance we've had in 20 years to come to a meaningful international agreement around reducing carbon emissions globally''.

''[It] seems like the perfect time for us to express support to our Government to take a more ambitious line in negotiations than they've currently committed to.''

Cr Hilary Calvert described the motion as a ''publicity stunt''.

Cr Hawkins said the vote would also come ''on the back of 33 marches and rallies around the country'' urging the Government to set a more ambitious emissions reduction target.

''All of these things cumulatively have as good a chance as we've got to influence the negotiations in Paris next week.''

Cr Jinty MacTavish seconded the motion.

She said it ''would be a very strong way for us to demonstrate our commitment to a climate future ... as a city''.

Auckland and Wellington had already signed up to the agreement, Cr MacTavish said.

''It would commit us to setting a city-wide emissions target, which we likely want to do as part of the environmental strategy anyway,'' Cr MacTavish said.

Cr David Benson-Pope said he would support the ''entirely sensible'' motion.

Cr Kate Wilson called it ''timely''.

''It shouldn't be seen as being critical [of the Government], but enabling for them to think they can do more [on climate change].''

Cr Andrew Whiley, who is ProGas Otago spokesman, said he would oppose the motion, which he dismissed as ''Green Party policy''.

''If we really want to get serious about this ... why don't we look at being a green city, and move forward in that way, and invest in it,'' he said.

The motion was ''going down the wrong path'', he said.

Cr Calvert also said she did not ''expect'' to support the motion.

''I'm sure there'll be impassioned statements made, [but] I think it's unlikely that the passion of the people who make the statements will change my general view.''

Cr Calvert said she was sceptical about the motives of Crs Hawkins and MacTavish in putting the proposal forward.

''It feels like a publicity stunt related to an international climate change conference ... rather than being a genuine desire to achieve anything for our people.''

Crs Andrew Noone, Mike Lord and Lee Vandervis also said they expected to vote against the motion.

Cr Lord said he understood ''where [the councillors] were coming from, but I don't think [I'll] be supporting it''.

Cr Vandervis called the motion ''just idealism'' and ''completely impractical''.

Mayor Dave Cull said the motion included ''a reasonable set of objectives''.

''They're consistent with quite a lot of the information and concern expressed in the New Zealand community and the Dunedin community recently,'' he said.

carla.green@odt.co.nz

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