Moyne Shire CEO David Madden says the community is firmly behind climate change science as Port Fairy prepares to fight rising sea levels.
The township has more certainty than most about the problems ahead.
A study released in April has mapped how the ocean will submerge roads, houses and sand dunes over the coming century.
Against the backdrop of federal cuts to climate programs and next week’s meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that will release the latest findings, Mr Madden said the town had accepted the threat and was now looking at how to fortify itself for the future.
“I think it is accepted that we are seeing changes in the climate. We are working on preparing a defend Port Fairy strategy,” he said.
“In regards to Port Fairy and Peterborough, we’re seeing more erosion around our coastal areas than we have in the past.”
Storm surges that wear away beaches had become more intense and more common, Mr Madden said.
While council is able to build rock walls and armour itself against the 21st century climate, it is powerless to change the factors that will see the ocean reach doorsteps and threaten its tourism industry.
“It’s a multi-layered issue but we do not profess to tell the state or federal governments what they should or shouldn’t do.”
But the south-west could play a huge role in lowering the country’s carbon emissions. Close to a thousand wind turbines are planned across south-west municipalities.
Wave energy projects are planned in Portland and Port Fairy, while geothermal opportunities await investment in Koroit.
In Nirranda, another company is storing CO2 carbon under the earth’s surface. Although not listed as renewable energy, it is part of a larger plan to reduce carbon emissions.
However, all of these projects are reliant on Commonwealth support, either subsidies from the Renewable Energy Target or other grants.