Oakland, CA Declares Climate Emergency

Last night, the city of Oakland, California followed Berkeley and Richmond, becoming the third California city to declare a Climate Emergency, voting unanimously to pass a “Resolution Endorsing the Declaration of a Climate Emergency and Requesting Regional Collaboration on an Immediate Just Transition and Emergency Mobilization Effort to Restore a Safe Climate.”

Oakland’s vote marks growing regional momentum and a movement of cities to treat global warming as the emergency it is. Oakland joins Berkeley and Richmond in launching an emergency-speed Climate Mobilization and Just Transition effort.

This means that the City will:

● Rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and seek to reach zero net emissions at emergency speed

● Create plans to protect residents, especially frontline communities,  from worsening climate disasters, and

● Work with local cities, counties and public agencies around the San Francisco Bay Area to bring them into a rapid Just Transition mobilization as well.

The City of Los Angeles is also gearing up for an equitable emergency response to global warming as it considers a motion from LA Councilmember Paul Koretz to create a Climate Emergency Mobilization Department. As Councilmember Koretz wrote in his letter to Oakland City Councilmembers yesterday, “The UN IPCC Report from earlier this month confirms what we have already known: we need to stop messing around with our greenhouse gas emissions immediately or we will face a climate catastrophe, the likes of whose impacts we are already feeling. Severe climate disruption is not happening to our children and grandchildren, it is happening to us right here in California, and around the world in real time. This is an emergency like nothing humankind has ever faced before, and we must be up to the task if civilization is to survive.”

Hoboken, New Jersey and Montgomery County, Maryland have also passed similar Climate Emergency Declarations.

Oakland’s Resolution combines the need to stop climate change in its tracks with a commitment to social justice, calling for a rapid, Just Transition from an extractive, destructive and racist economy towards equitable, regenerative and local living economies that uphold human rights and the Earth’s life support systems.

Passing Climate Emergency Declarations is a new and growing strategy for the climate movement, and an effective way for cities to act while the Federal government is motivated by fossil-fuel-funded denial. Notes Margaret Klein Salamon, director of The Climate Mobilization: “The growing emergency climate movement calls for an all-hands-on-deck climate mobilization to eliminate emissions as quickly as possible, in ten years or less, through a World War II-scale economic mobilization.”

As Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC) Coordinator Colin Cook-Miller said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. In this time we must go both fast and far, together. Our movement for a rapid Just Transition mobilization must be coordinated, strategic and unified, with leadership from the most-impacted frontline communities who are at the forefront of change.”

The OCAC led the effort to pass the Resolution in Oakland, with support from The Climate Mobilization. 42 local & national organizations and coalitions signed on to the OCAC's letter of support calling on Councilmembers to pass the “Climate Emergency Declaration & Just Transition Resolution” without delay.

Incoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also called on the United States to treat the climate crisis as it did WWII. What is more, the Extinction Rebellion launched in London today (10/31). This campaign of escalating civil disobedience -- backed by more than 100 prominent climate scientists, elected officials and intellectuals-- calls for the UK to eliminate emissions by 2025 and remove excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through a WWII-scale climate mobilization.

Congratulations to the City of Oakland on this critical vote to lead the State of California, the United States and the world toward zero emissions at emergency speed!

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