Amidst Coronavirus Shutdown, Big Win Emerges in Battle for Climate

March 31, 2020—After declaring a Climate Emergency in November, Ann Arbor, Michigan has drafted a $1 billion groundbreaking climate plan to get to carbon neutrality by 2030. Advocates see Ann Arbor’s A2 Zero Living Carbon Neutrality Plan as a transformative policy shift that will set a model for other cities around the nation and world in preparing for the Climate Emergency. 

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“Many have asked what cities should do after they declare a Climate Emergency. Ann Arbor is showing us the answer,” said Margaret Klein Salamon, executive director of The Climate Mobilization. “Even in this moment of national crisis around COVID-19, local organizers and leaders are focused on protecting our future. This is Leadership — something that is in very short supply at the national level. This plan demonstrates that local leaders can take responsibility for setting priorities that align with the critical needs of their communities. This is what the future looks like, if there’s going to be one,” added Salamon, author of the forthcoming book Facing The Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth.

In May 2019, local activists from The Climate Mobilization Ann Arbor chapter brought a petition to their Mayor and City Council to declare a Climate Emergency and commit to a local emergency response on climate. After a months-long campaign, Ann Arbor passed a Climate Emergency Declaration in November 2019 committing the city to developing a draft plan to reach city-wide carbon neutrality by 2030. The city of Ann Arbor then launched the A2Zero initiative, through which the city worked with the public, experts, and over 50 organizational partners over the past five months to develop the draft plan.

The now-published A2Zero plan includes measures to transition to a 100% renewable electricity grid, transitioning off of fossil fuels, energy efficiency, and reducing resource consumption across the community, and would lead to an investment of over $1 billion over the next 10 years — a bold commitment from a city of just over 120,000 residents, and represents one of the strongest local plans presented by a city after passing a Climate Emergency Declaration.

“From expanding community-owned solar and zero-emissions public transportation, to reducing food waste and engaging local residents in the climate planning process, Ann Arbor is demonstrating that it is possible to building the foundations of truly regenerative future when community is supported by strong political leadership,” said Laura Berry, The Climate Mobilization’s Director of Research and Publications. “The A2Zero Carbon Neutrality Strategy is a clear example of how even a small city can take back its future through emergency-speed action working to cut greenhouse gas emissions and transition away from fossil fuels. It’s what governments all levels must do to prevent climate catastrophe,” she added.

Since last January, Climate Emergency declarations jumped from only 233 worldwide to currently 1484 declarations within 28 countries + EU, covering more than 10% of global population. In the United States these numbers have jumped from only 8 last January to 91 declarations in 24 states. 

Click here to see global Climate Emergency Declaration numbers.

The Climate Mobilization continues to push for support for legislation calling on Congress to declare a national Climate Emergency. HR. 52 – Introduced last June by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in the House and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate. The resolution has now gained over 100 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, and 8 in the Senate.

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