Moray Council has set the aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 as it yesterday joined global efforts to halt climate change.
About 100 activists had gathered outside the authority’s Elgin headquarters yesterday ahead of the decision.
Colourful banners were hung in the trees outside the building declaring there was no “planet B” and that people should “wake up to the truth”.
John Lardner, who organised the demonstration after being inspired by the Extinction Rebellion events in London, said: “Talks about climate change started in the 1970s, if not before.
“That’s part of the problem. There has been talk but there needs to be action.
“The young realise things must change. Their future is being ripped from them because we adults accept a system that wants profits at any price, even if it costs the earth.”
A short time later, councillors unanimously backed the declaration of a “climate change emergency”.
Forres councillor Claire Feaver read a speech in Swedish to thank 15-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who hails from the country, for her work raising global awareness of the issue.
School pupils across Moray have followed the lead of the teenager by staging their own walkouts from classrooms to highlight their own concerns.
Council leader Graham Leadbitter explained that funding was expected from both Scottish and UK governments to pay for initiatives to make changes.
Speyside Glenlivet councillor Louise Laing, who lodged the climate change proposal, said: “If you ask anybody what the weather was like last year they would say it was great.
“However, 40 people in Scotland died due to heat, we had water scarcity in Moray and the Highlands and we’ve had one of the largest wildfires ever seen in the UK this year.
“The WWF says we are the first generation to realise there is a problem but the last that can do anything about it.”
Yesterday’s decision recommended Moray Council joins with other local authorities. including Edinburgh and Glasgow. to form a climate change group to pursue ideas that can be replicated across the country.
Energy efficiency programmes already started by the council include replacement of street lights with LEDs to cut £350,000 from annual electric bills, while more electric vehicle charge points have been funded to try and reduce fumes from cars.
Council convener Shona Morrison said: “We must take on the views from the community while continuing to be proactive in introducing new and innovative ways to meet our target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”