Managing climate risk and building our local climate resilience is complex, and will affect many Council plans and services.
View answers to some relevant questions below, together with graphics of some key concepts.
What are the impacts and risks of climate change?
Hotter and more extreme weather could impact on local people, businesses and our environment in a number of ways.
Are some people more at risk?
While everyone will be affected by climate change in some way, some populations are more vulnerable than others. Extreme weather events can be an added burden for people with other challenges.
What contributes to climate risk?
Risks from climate change often increase when there is a combination of the weather event itself (or ‘hazard’), the level of vulnerability of impacted people, and how exposed people or things are to that weather event.
While Council and community can’t change the weather, we can take action to reduce the vulnerability and exposure of people and things we care about.
How we can minimise hazards, vulnerability and exposure in our community.
- Hazard – Urgently cutting global climate pollution to zero can minimise future hazards
- Vulnerability – Council services can prioritise support for more vulnerable groups
- Exposure – Council programs and works can improve the climate-readiness of buildings and places, therefore reducing exposure to climate risks.
High heat days are already impacting Council’s work outdoors and maintaining green spaces and tree establishment is challenging in a hotter and drier climate. Drainage infrastructure has difficulty coping with increasingly extreme rainfall events.
Meanwhile, climate change increases community vulnerability and will significantly impact on vulnerable cohorts. For instance, extreme heat is associated with poor outcomes for infants and the elderly, as well as increases in family violence.
Local climate change impacts are increasing a range of risks to Council assets and services.
Key risks for Council include:
- More hot days and severe heatwaves, leading to:
- reduced safe hours for outdoor work;
- cancellation of outdoor events;
- facilities failing thermal comfort levels;
- difficulty maintaining green spaces;
- unsafe walking & riding conditions;
- power and/or public transport outages;
- increased community support needs.
- Declining average rainfall but with intense storms, leading to:
- flash flooding and property damage;
- difficulty retaining large trees and establishing new trees and plantings.
- Poor air quality from bushfires and dust storms, making it unsafe to:
- undertake outdoor work or deliver in-home care services;
- staff fatigue from emergency activations;
- facilities failing internal air quality standards.
- Financial and liability risks, due to costs associated with managing climate impacts and increased claims against Council of damage or liability.
Climate risk poses a huge challenge that is far beyond the resources and scope of any single local government. Climate change impacts us at national, state, and regional levels and must be a shared responsibility.
Council has an important role to play:
- working regionally, including calling for funding and partnerships with other levels of government
- reducing risks to our public buildings, infrastructure, and Council services
- ensuring public space and private development can support community health and wellbeing
- supporting our residents and businesses to prepare ahead, with a focus on helping vulnerable and isolated community members.
Financial support from national and state governments is vital for local governments to effectively deliver the scale of practical activities necessary.
We are already taking steps to adapt and build resilience to climate change, including:
- Creating more resilient landscapes and healthy waterways through stormwater harvesting and projects like Moomba Park Wetland (Integrated Water Management Strategy and The Nature Plan).
- Purchasing of land and creating new green spaces and local parks in areas of Moreland without parks in walking distance (A Park Close to Home).
- Increasing canopy cover through tree planting in streets, parks and gardens (Urban Forestry Strategy).
- Improving the wellbeing and energy security of low-income residents through grants and support for home insulation/draught-proofing or rooftop solar.
- Council’s planning and response to emergency events, including severe weather driven by climate change (Municipal Emergency Management Plan and sub-plans).
Finalising and implementing our first Climate Risk Strategy will ensure Council takes a coordinated and strategic approach to climate adaptation, risk and resilience.
Communities and businesses face significant challenges due to climate change. Being informed and supported can help the community and businesses to adapt.
There are practical things we can all do to prepare for extreme weather:
- Confirm your local risks (is your house or business in flood-prone area?)
- Consider retrofitting your home or business. This can include; installing insulation, filling gaps around windows and doors or adding external shading.
- Learn what to do when a heatwave or big storm is forecast
- Setup a message group with family/friends/neighbours
- Prepare an emergency kit (just in case).
The climate crisis means we all need to:
1. Cut the pollution causing global warming
- to avoid unmanageable impacts
2. Prepare now for even hotter and more extreme weather to come
- to manage unavoidable impacts
We are preparing for hotter and more dangerous weather to come. We must continue to work with our community to cut the pollution which is damaging our climate. Together, we are striving towards a Zero Carbon Merri-bek by 2035.
The draft Climate Risk Strategy has a vision for 2040 and 5 goals for 2030.
Goal 1 - Managing climate risk
Goal 2 - Built and natural environments
Goal 2 - Services to community
Goal 4 - Community and business
Goal 5 - Partnership approaches
Climate risk strategy - Vision for 2040
- Council competently, accountably, and responsively manages climate risk, and
- Merri-bek is climate-resilient, verdant, and liveable; with
- A climate-ready and resilient community