Los Angeles Moves Toward Mobilization

This action by the City of L.A. is concrete progress towards the kind of WWII-scale mobilization that is necessary to drive down emissions, capture excess carbon, and protect L.A. residents as the climate emergency accelerates. 

 The Skirball Fire engulfs parts of Bel Air next to the 405 Highway on December 7, 2017
The Skirball Fire engulfs parts of Bel Air next to the 405 Highway on December 7, 2017

On Wednesday July 3, by 13-0-2 vote of the City Council, the City of Los Angeles became the first government in the world to create and fund an official City Office and City Commission to develop and implement a mobilization plan, in response to the climate emergency. 

This vote enacts the following:

  • Creation of the Office of the Climate Emergency Mobilization, with a director who will help design and implement the city’s mobilization plans;

  • Establishment of a representative Climate Emergency Commission;

  • Initiating Community Assemblies to bring traditionally marginalized voices into the decision-making process;

  • Formalizing L.A.’s declaration of Climate Emergency within 60 days.

This action by the City of L.A. is concrete progress towards the kind of WWII-scale mobilization that is necessary to drive down emissions, capture excess carbon, and protect L.A. residents as the climate emergency accelerates. 

“L.A.’s vote today to initiate a funded, large-scale climate emergency program shows the way forward for the hundreds of local governments across the world that have declared a climate emergency, including New York City,” said Ezra Silk, Director of Strategy & Policy for The Climate Mobilization (TCM).

This effort was led by Leap L.A., a coalition of frontline community groups and environmental justice organizers, which has been working for three years towards a vision of L.A. as a zero-emissions, resilient city that prioritizes environmental justice and a just transition. A key component of a just transition is ensuring that workers displaced by the move away from fossil fuels are prioritized for retraining, education, assistance and job placement in positions of comparable pay in clean energy industries. 

Current Leap L.A. coalition members include Communities for a Better Environment, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Esperanza Community Housing, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education, The Leap, 5 Gyres, and representatives from the American Indian Movement. TCM has played an active role in the coalition and this effort for over two years as a steering committee member and is now an ally organization to Leap L.A.

 Infographic on Neighborhood Oil Drilling in greater Los Angeles.
Infographic on Neighborhood Oil Drilling in greater Los Angeles.

Leap L.A. organizations, their members, and allies have been working with the Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice Committee of the L.A. City Council. Leap L.A. has consistently advocated for a solution that would democratize, detoxify, and decarbonize L.A.’s economy, which is heavily based on fossil fuels and petrochemicals.

The Climate Emergency Commission will consist of an appointee from each of the three historic local tribes of indigenous people — the Gabrielino-Tongva, the Fernandeño-Tataviam, and the Chumash — as well as seven appointees from communities classified as most impacted by environmental injustice by the CalEnviroScreen, and two youth appointees. Representatives from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the City’s Petroleum Administration will also be appointed to the Commission, as well as a representative from the labor community and a small business owner. The commission is to be rounded out by additional City agency representatives and three policy experts on climate science/air quality, toxics, and workforce. 

Community engagement and collaboration with local communities across Los Angeles has been prioritized by  the City Council with this vote. The revised motion calls for the initiation and funding of Community Assemblies, which will empower marginalized and frontline communities to provide direct input on proposed policies and programs proposed to address the Climate Emergency. “We will immediately launch Community Assemblies by which our frontline communities will be engaged in the effort so they can lead us where we need to go to serve them most effectively,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, who has championed this effort from the beginning. Community Assembly participants will receive training that will enable them to develop proposals for pilot projects that would be undertaken by the CEMD.

Next Steps

TCM’s Silk wants to see the city go further. The Climate Mobilization applauds this important step of providing funding and creating new, representative decision-making bodies, and encourages the City Council to quickly adopt the full proposal submitted on March 15 by Councilmember Koretz and Leap L.A.

“We hope that L.A. deepens its commitment to climate emergency action by ending neighborhood oil drilling and establishing a city-wide Climate Emissions Budget and Climate Emergency Mobilization Department (CEMD) with all the necessary authority to plan and coordinate a city-wide mobilization to transform L.A. to zero emissions before the 2028 Olympics, and to catalyze a global mobilization to restore a safe climate,” Silk said.

A Climate Budget would account for present and historical greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants and would be developed alongside the City’s financial budget. The Climate Budget would be used to establish L.A.’s allowable annual emissions levels and requirements for carbon drawdown in order to meet the City’s climate targets.

TCM’s ongoing Climate Emergency Campaign has been pushing local governments to declare climate emergency across the globe, with over 700 having done so to date. Declaring a Climate Emergency  is the first step toward climate mobilization, but tangible action must follow. The communities and their elected representatives in Los Angeles have been working to lead and to help define what mobilization means in one of the largest cities in the U.S. This action by the City of L.A. represents a significant advancement in the governmental response to the emergency.

Watch a short video on the concept of climate mobilization, featuring speakers from a kickoff event in Los Angeles in 2017. 



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Kristen Cashmore

Senior Director
Kristen brings more than 25 years of social justice advocacy to Climate Mobilization. Her previous positions at human rights, public health, environmental justice, and clean energy organizations inform her work with the variety of stakeholders she is engaging with to bring an accelerated response to the climate emergency. Kristen earned a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley, where she was a teaching assistant in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.

Malik Russell

Communications Director

Malik leads Climate Mobilization’s press and communications strategy. He formerly served as Communications Director for the NAACP. He is a journalist, author, community-based educator, and former lecturer in the Department of Strategic Communications at Morgan State University. The former editor of the Washington Afro-American newspaper, he has worked as a journalist in the Black Press for over two decades.He has a BA in American history from Brandeis University and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College in New York, where he was selected as a National Urban Fellow.

Ezra Silk

Deputy Director

Ezra is co-founder of The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. He authored The Climate Mobilization’s Victory Plan, an influential exploration of how the federal government can organize and implement a mobilization to save civilization from the Climate Emergency and ecological crisis. This document directly shaped the demands of the Extinction Rebellion movement and the Green New Deal framework. Ezra was also a lead author of the climate emergency declaration resolution introduced in Congress in July 2019. A former newspaper reporter, Ezra has a BA in history from Wesleyan University.

Matt Renner

Executive Director of The Climate Mobilization

Matt has worked as a nonprofit executive in clean energy, climate policy, and journalism for over a decade, focusing on the near-term social and economic impacts of climate change. He leads organizational expansion and works closely with the communications and organizing teams. Matt earned a BA in political science from UC Berkeley, where he was deeply inspired by the work of Professor George Lakoff.

Laura Berry

Research & Policy Director

Laura brings over a decade of experience to Climate Mobilization in climate advocacy, organizing, research, and policy. She has worked on climate, environmental, and sustainability issues from local to global scales with organizations including the Stockholm Environment Institute, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and 350.org. She is passionate about deepening democratic engagement in response to the Climate Emergency. Laura has a BA in human ecology from College of the Atlantic and an MSc in global environment, politics, and society from the University of Edinburgh.

Rebecca Harris

Organizing Director

Rebecca leads Climate Mobilization organizing efforts. Along with a history of social movement organizing, Rebecca he has worked as a journalist covering equity in Chicago public schools. Most recently, Rebecca worked as Development and Communications Manager at Latino Union of Chicago, an immigrants’ and workers’ rights organization. She is a 2017 graduate of the Reframe Mentorship in strategic communications and a 2019 participant in the Anne Braden Organizer Training Program.

Marina Mails

Operations and Community Manager
Marina manages operations and volunteers for both The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. She brings broad experience working in non-profit organizations, health care settings, and running her own private counseling practice. Before joining Climate Mobilization, Marina maintained a practice focusing exclusively on climate-related emotional coping, helping people make bold choices for lifestyle and professional change in response to the Climate Emergency. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Wake Forest University and a Masters in Counseling from UNC Greensboro.

Sydney Ghazarian

Digital Organizer
Sydney leads digital strategy for The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization project. She is also a founder of National Democratic Socialists of America Ecosocialist Working Group and worked to establish climate as a primary focus of the American Left. Sydney has previously worked in journalism and in academic research. Sydney received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California San Diego.

Cris Lagunas

Strategy Director

Cris is helping to grow the Climate Emergency Movement by supporting creative campaigns and extending the reach of the movement’s message. Cris is a co-founder of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, an organization dedicated to using direct action tactics to expose, challenge and dismantle the immigration detention system.Cris got his start in organizing when he was 15 years old, getting involved in a local group of fellow undocumented youth.

Zack Burley

Policy Associate

Zack provides policy support for the Climate Mobilization team, and brings a versatile set of policy skills and experiences in labor organizing, journalism, legislative politics, and legal practice to the climate emergency movement. Zack earned a JD from Denver University Sturm College of Law, is a founding organizer of the Political Workers Guild of Colorado, and formerly served as a legislative aide in the Colorado General Assembly.

AriDy Nox

Organizational Development and Engagement Manager
AriDy brings creativity, enthusiasm and a tremendous capacity for organization to her/their role, assisting the executive director with travel, communication and fundraising. AriDy Nox is a multi-disciplinary black femme storyteller and social activist. They have served as a national representative for The Young Women of Color Leadership Council, the Millennials of Color Leadership Bureau, and held writing positions with Advocates for Youth and RH Reality Check. She has worked as an administrative and executive assistant for a myriad of organizations including the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Performing Arts at NYU, the Youth Engagement Fund and the Community Resource Exchange.