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Ten Years to Zero: News from The Climate Emergency Movement

UN Secretary General Calls on All Nations to Declare a Climate Emergency

“Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency? That is why today, I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached.”

Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations

Photo: Cancillería Argentina on flickr.com

In a powerful speech at the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 this week, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on all national governments to declare a climate emergency and stay on an emergency footing until carbon neutrality is reached. This is the strongest statement yet by the international body that has adopted the Climate Emergency Campaign goal of getting governments on the record by declaring an emergency and then implementing policies that rise to the challenge. It’s remarkable how far this movement has come; the video from the U.N. is worth watching. 

This is a global shift, as leaders across the world, in governments large and small, come to the understanding that we face “a moment of truth” and a decisionpoint: it’s a choice between Climate Mobilization and collapse. 

If you are as inspired as we are by this moment, consider joining a Climate Emergency Campaign where you live — or starting one! 

On the homefront, a huge shout-out to TCM Montgomery County, Maryland, which achieved one of the first declarations in the U.S. and where the county just released a draft Climate Action Plan that sets out their pathway to zero emissions by 2035!

With the addition of two new national declarations in New Zealand and Japan, over 950 million people (12.8% of the global population) now live in a jurisdiction that has declared climate emergency. Click here for a detailed look at declaration numbers.

The climate emergency declarations coming out of New Zealand and Japan both include inadequate targets for eliminating emissions with goals of “net zero by 2050.” Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to zero by 2030 or sooner to avoid catastrophic global heating, the impacts of which we are only beginning to comprehend.

Double Your Impact to Support Our Work!

Thousands of people have taken action as part of the Climate Emergency Campaign — if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them. We have a strategy for advancing this work and winning deep policy impacts in 2021, but to get there we need your support. 

Our board of directors has pledged to match gifts dollar-for-dollar — can you jump in now and help us make sure we start the year off strong? Make a contribution now to support Climate Mobilization.

Hopeful News

Major changes to energy infrastructure are fast approaching as coal, natural gas, and oil power plants reach the end of their useful lives. A full 85% of the current fossil-fuel power generation capacity in the U.S. is slated to close due to age by 2035. The journal Science published a paper looking at the impact of plant closures on workers, drawing parallels with the job losses and devastation around the steel industry in the U.S. in the 1970s and 80s. The study author points to the opportunity lawmakers have at this time to both protect workers from the impact of plant closures by planning ahead, and shift energy production to green sources. 

In Montgomery County, Maryland, where the county government declared a climate emergency in 2017, County Executive Marc Elrich has proposed a new Climate Action Plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035. “The Draft Climate Action Plan identifies the County’s major GHG emissions sectors, including energy supply, buildings and transportation, and proposes actions to directly reduce GHG emissions in these sectors. The plan also includes actions related to climate adaptation, carbon sequestration, climate governance and public engagement, partnerships and education.”

President Elect Joe Biden has called the climate crisis one of the greatest challenges facing our country, but has stopped short of declaring it a national emergency. With control of the Senate still up for grabs and concerns that declaring a climate emergency would alienate moderate senators, the Biden-Harris team continue to ride the line on this issue, committing to re-joining the Paris climate accord, but refusing to answer calls to invoke the National Emergencies Act.  Those in support of Biden’s decision argue that we cannot afford to divide the country by declaring a climate emergency. We, on the other hand, continue to organize around our conviction that telling the truth is critical and that nationwide Climate Mobilization is necessary if we are to have any hope of addressing the climate emergency by 2030. 

A combination of cross-generational organizing, smart legislation, and eight-years of fighting has led to New York divesting its $226 billion pension fund from fossil fuels, with a promise to completely decarbonize the fund by 2040. The fossil free divestment movement continues to gain ground, with over 1300 institutions representing nearly $14.5 trillion agreeing to full or partial divestment. But this win is expected to raise the stakes for everyone, warning Wall Street and other institutional investors that the fossil fuel industry’s days are numbered. 

As we have experienced first-hand working with organizers from across the country in their local communities, Post Carbon Institute’s Resilience project points out the success of local governments taking a lead on reducing emissions and creating just, sustainable futures using climate emergency declarations to focus goals and bring people together. “This process of declaration is helping communities to better understand where they are on their climate journeys and creates a framework for designing, delivering and evaluating a pathway forward towards a net-zero emissions future.”

Climate Impacts

Record high temperatures in the arctic are rapidly changing the landscape and ecosystems above the arctic circle. Permafrost is melting, glaciers collapsing, snow-cover and sea ice are shrinking. This region is warming up to 4 times faster than the rest of the planet, influencing sea level rise and extreme weather around the world. 

Calculations are just being finalized for the cost to the economy of the 2018 California wildfires. Previous to this year, 2018 had been the worst wildfire season on record, costing the US economy an astounding $148.5 billion dollars in losses, including concrete loss of life and property, as well as health impacts of wildfire smoke, loss of productivity and other costs. 

Inhabitants of low lying, rural areas in Bangladesh are being forced out of their homes, often into city slums, by severe weather and constant flooding. People who formerly worked in fishing or farming in these regions are left without a livelihood.

Long Reads

The climate emergency is inextricable from the theft of land from indigenous people, as is the ongoing abuse of indigenous people and the lands they inhabit. This article explores the #landback movement  The Indigenous landback movement is central to the fight for environmental justice. Explore the landback movement and their recent wins in this article. 

As Biden’s presidency draws near, the desire for a return to robust and assertive government action on climate is growing. A recent article in Yes! calls to revive the Civilian Conservation Corps, a program created and launched during the Great Depression that put millions of people to work while also deepening America’s conservation efforts. A revised form of the program would ideally reject its predecessor’s pitfalls (racism, sexism, ecologically destructive projects, etc.) and address our current environmental challenges with the guidance of scientific experts and the efforts of a truly diverse workforce. 

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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.

Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD

Founder and Board President

Margaret is the founder of The Climate Mobilization (TCM) and Climate Mobilization Project (CMP) and helped catalyze a worldwide climate emergency movement through her work with both organizations. Margaret now serves as Climate Awakening Program Director. She is the author of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth (New Society Publishers, April 2020) and several influential essays. She is also a member of the Climate Emergency Fund’s Advisory Board. Margaret earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Though she loved being a therapist, Margaret felt called to apply her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving the Climate Emergency.

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.