It was standing room only at Wollongong council on Monday night, as dozens of climate activists aimed to keep an emissions target on the city's agenda.
The protest was organised after councillors voted last month to delay the introduction of an emissions target. It was run by the Illawarra Climate Justice Alliance, a group formed after the September climates strikes.
Climate change was not in the business papers this week, but the group said it was important for the issue to remain at the top of councillors' minds.
At a gathering before the meeting, 14-year-old Wollongong High School student Lola Bell said her group planned to protest at council meetings until the emissions target was adopted.
"We know that Wollongong is small compared to big targets like the federal government, but we believe through this grassroots action that we can make a difference," she said. "It's up to everyone to do their bit."
She also said the climate alliance hoped to convince the council that a net-zero target should be achieved by 2030, not 2050.
In September, councillors were due to set a target for Wollongong to be carbon neutral by 2050. The plan laid out by council staff also said the city - mainly industry and residents - needed to reduce emissions by 2.7 per cent each year in the meantime.
This would have helped to stretch out the city's remaining carbon budget - which will run out in 18 years with no action - and triggered development of an "emissions target reduction plan" in consultation with residents and industry.
But a majority of councillors voted that the target should be "deferred" pending more consultation.
Speaking at this week's meeting, school student Caitlin Cooper said action was needed immediately "to prevent pending disaster" for Wollongong's coastal community.
Dapto resident Daniel Noonan, who is blind, said a delay in preventing climate change could prevent him from accessing his community.
"Even just going out with my support animal, my guide dog Ellie, the weather is getting more extreme all the time..." he said.
"Past a certain point, it's not ethical or humane to work a support animal, she can burn her feet or get heatstroke, so I'm wondering how long I can even access my own community if we don't start looking at making a change for the whole community."
In response to the speakers, councillor Ann Martin noted the council had already declared a climate emergency and was looking into setting an emissions target within a reasonable timeframe.
The council's extra consultation round is now open.
Residents are asked to provide their thoughts on the idea of a target and submit ideas about what actions the community could take to meet the goal.
So far, 67 ideas have been lodged through the council's website and include electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city, solar power for apartment blocks, light rail in West Dapto, and better facilities for bikes, public transport and pedestrians.
Feedback closes at 5pm on November 8.
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