The world was a slightly different place back in 1984. As I began my career as a young ranger, the phrase climate change just didn't feature in my vocabulary.
Over the ensuing 35 years, the only constant has been change. The consequences of climate change are now upon us, impacting communities, changing lives, shifting the very fabric of our environment.
A cursory glance across the news cycle reveals floods, fire and famine. What's alarming is the frequency, the intensity of these devastating events that capture world attention with distressing costs to broader humanity.
Here in the bush capital, climate change means we are more likely to experience frequent, intense heatwaves, a higher risk of severe bushfires, and more powerful, potent storms set against a backdrop of more frequent and prolonged drought.
The science simply tells us the sooner we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions the better the outcome will be for our environment.
You have only to look around our beautiful city to appreciate that Canberra is one of the most liveable municipalities in the world, thanks to a community mindset built on sustainability. By thinking globally and acting locally, the bush capital has a proud history of leading climate change action with increasingly ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets.
The new ACT Climate Change Strategy, coupled with Canberra's Living Infrastructure Plan, represents a generational opportunity to take the next steps in response to the global climate crisis.
With our climate change strategies now paying dividends, we are on track to meet our legislated target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50-60 per cent from 1990 levels by 2025.
From January 1, 2020, as a community we will reach our 100 per cent renewable electricity target. This achievement is a potent reminder that investment in clean, sustainable renewable electricity sources is an achievable goal. An achievement that seemed so distant back in the early 1980s.
Embracing the intrinsic qualities of the bush capital, Canberra's Living Infrastructure Plan will keep our city cool and liveable in the warming climate. The value of an urban forest is a dominant driver in protecting and enhancing our city's nature.
Achieving ambitious targets requires community participation. Our challenge will be to turn our collective minds to transport and natural gas, which combined will make up more than 80 per cent of our emissions by 2020.
By changing the way we move around our city, heat our homes, cook our food and design and construct our buildings we can deliver real outcomes. The benefits will be there.
To be part of the solution visit www.act.gov.au/climatechange
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