9 Years to Zero: Building Code and Progress from the Biden Administration

Brand New Organizer Toolkit!

Our new Climate Mobilization 2030 Toolkit launched on March 29! We offer a step-by-step blueprint for people and organizations to get their communities involved by passing Climate Emergency Declarations, and follow-up Climate Emergency Programs to enact real policy making mobilization at the local level. Whether you’re an individual, or part of a local climate group, this new resource is a guide to moving your community into emergency mode.

If you’re thinking about taking action and want to learn more about reaching zero emissions by 2030, or are curious about what comes next after declaring climate emergency, sign up to receive the Toolkit

For an introduction watch our Toolkit Launch Webinar.

Climate Emergency Movement Updates

The city of La Mesa, California declared a climate emergency on February 23, bolstering the city’s Climate Action Plan and “directing the City to take accelerated and comprehensive action to address the climate crisis.”

Sonoma County, California has become the first county in the U.S. in which all of its cities, plus the County itself, have now passed a Climate Emergency Resolution. The area is unique in California in having a Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) — a joint powers authority, or JPA, tasked with coordinating climate protection efforts among the County’s nine cities and multiple agencies. Organizers in Sonoma with The Climate Mobilization and many allied groups continue to push local governments to make good on their promises, while advocating for equitable policies that bolster the resilience of the region. 

To date there have been 1,928 declarations of climate emergency worldwide, within 34 countries and the European Union. For these communities, the next step is to adopt Climate Emergency Programs that center frontline communities and bring emissions to zero by 2030.

Progress from the Biden Administration

As currently written, Biden’s newly unveiled, $2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan includes provisions to address the climate emergency, among other spending. $174 billion is earmarked to subsidize the cost of electric vehicle purchases and to build charging infrastructure, $100 billion for upgrades in the electric grid, and $85 billion for public transit. While passage of this bill would be a paradigm shift away from the business-as-usual gridlock that has gripped Washington for decades, in its current form it is not enough to initiate a Climate Mobilization that would drive down emissions at emergency speed. We continue to work with allies in Congress to increase the topline and improve the package and will continue to advocate for comprehensive Climate Mobilization that rises to the challenge of restoring a safe climate.

The White House announced the members of the new Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which will advise and provide recommendations to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council on how to address current and historic environmental injustices.

Also, the Biden administration announced a plan to rapidly increase offshore wind power generation, which includes the creation of a wind energy area off the east coast, smoother permitting, and increases in available loans — all aimed at creating enough wind-power capacity to power 10 million homes within ten years. 

Natural Gas Bans

Berkeley, CA, which declared a climate emergency in 2018, passed the first ban on natural gas hookups in new construction in 2019. Since that time the regulation has become popular among California cities — 21 municipalities across California now require all-electric systems in new housing construction. Unfortunately efforts toward a statewide ban have proved much more difficult to pass, facing calls to delay the changes, as well as criticism from gas industry groups and others over potential electricity rate hikes, and grid disruption during a time when California’s electric grid is already under strain.

State Sen. David Cortese stands in favor of natural gas bans, stating “Look, this is either a climate emergency or it’s not. If this isn’t the equivalent of a pandemic happening on the greenhouse gas front, then stop now. But it is a problem. It’s a problem I’m committed to solving.”

For more details about the challenge of passing meaningful climate emergency legislation, the full report on the matter from KQED public radio is worth reading. 

Heading in the Wrong Direction

Funding by global banks for expanding fossil fuel companies has gone up since the signing of the Paris Accord, demonstrating the lack of engagement with even modest climate goals from the banking sector. While some banks have promised to reduce funding to coal, oil and gas firms, none have concrete plans to do so. Additionally, analysis by The Guardian finds that three quarters of board directors among the 7 largest US banks have ties to fossil fuel companies. 

The rulemaking process that determines building codes, regulating energy efficiency standards in new buildings among other things, has been altered by the International Code Council, or ICC, to give less power to local elected officials and cede the majority of voting power to industry representatives. This change impacts much of the United States and Latin America and could block democratic attempts to legislate standards that cut emissions from homes and businesses. Despite opposition from prominent Democrats and the Biden Administration, the ICC voted to adopt the changes in a closed meeting on March 3. 

2020 was one of the worst years for destruction of forests in recent decades, according to a new study. Some of most acute losses, an area of land the size of the Netherlands, occurred in tropical rainforest regions of South America, central Africa and south-east Asia, regions home to essential carbon storage capacity and fragile biodiversity. 

Supporting this work

Thank you for your continued interest in The Climate Mobilization and the Climate Emergency Movement. If you can support us with a donation, you’ll help us build community power across the US for emergency declarations and the Climate Emergency Programs that follow. 

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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 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.