Sydney city councillors voted unanimously on Monday to declare the climate crisis a serious threat to the residents of Sydney.
Wiradjuri woman Laura Parker, an Indigenous environment expert at the University of New South Wales, told NITV News the decision by Sydney councillors was "an important step in the right direction”.
“For some Indigenous communities in Australia, [climate crisis] will not only impact on their connection to Country and sense of belonging but will also have impacts on traditional and contemporary cultural practices, health and wellbeing, food security, trade and livelihoods,” she said.
Ms Parker said important ecosystems are currently under threat and "without efforts now to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, we will see a loss of species and potentially entire ecosystems over the coming decades".
At Monday night’s vote, Lord Mayor Clover Moore asked the council to call on the Federal Government to urgently reintroduce prices on carbon that match the 2015 United Nations Paris Agreement aimed at dealing with greenhouse gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance.
"On 24 January this year, 91 of the hottest 100 places on earth were in Australia. Heat waves on our continent are not only five times more likely, but they start earlier, last longer, and are hotter than ever before,” Ms Moore said.
The Lord Mayor said heatwaves across Australia are five times more likely and have grown to become “even more alarming” as they “start earlier, become hotter and last longer”.
Before the Paris Agreement in 2007, the City of Sydney revealed a long-term plan to reduce emission by 70 per cent in 2030.
But on Monday Night the Lord Mayor said they have now “set a more ambitious goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050”.
The council is also asking the Federal Government to establish a Just Transition Authority, ensuring that Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find alternative employment.
“We became Australia’s first carbon neutral council in 2007, and as of June 2017, we’d reduced emissions in our own operations by 25 per cent,” Ms Moore said.
"In 2020, we will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, allowing us to meet our 2030 target by 202, six years early.
“Seventy per cent of the world’s emissions are generated from cities, so the action city governments take is absolutely critical.”
In March this year, the United Nations released a report warning urgent action is needed to prevent an impending two degrees Celsius worldwide temperature increase that will see Earth surge into catastrophic global warming.