London Declares Climate Emergency, Strengthening Global Movement
London BECOMES 11th City Worldwide To Set Realistic Timeline for Shift to Carbon-Free Economy In Order to Restore a Safe Climate
Today, London Mayor Sadiq Kahn joined with the City Assembly in declaring Climate Emergency and accelerating the city’s efforts to transform its economy to carbon-neutrality by 2030.
Kahn’s declaration comes on the heels of a similar motion by the London City Assembly, calling for a plan from the mayor. The Assembly’s statement specifically cited the work of The Climate Mobilization organizers in the U.S. cities of Hoboken and Berkeley. London becomes the third city in the U.K. to declare a Climate Emergency, after Bristol and Manchester, which have also set aggressive zero-carbon goals.
“We are in the midst of a climate emergency which poses a threat to our health, our planet and our children and grandchildren’s future,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the Guardian UK, adding “City Hall is doing everything in our power to mitigate the risk in London but the stark reality is that we need urgent government action and funding.”
London follows six cities and counties in the United States and three in Australia that have declared a Climate Emergency and committed to emergency actions to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and enact other local policies to create a just transition and avoid the catastrophic consequences of irreversible climate change.
Kahn’s message to the national government mirrors our strategy advocating for a World War II scale Climate Mobilization. Our city by city campaign pushes cities and counties to declare “Climate Emergency” and demand that their state and national governments move into action.
Our Executive Director, Margaret Klein Salamon, Ph.D on the declaration:
“Declaring a Climate Emergency is a crucial step in the effort to meet the existential challenge of climate change at the scale of the crisis. Londoners modeled courage in the face of fascism during WWII, and they are doing so again. We deeply appreciate that the City of London is stepping up to lead.”
This declaration comes on the heels of sustained protests from Extinction Rebellion — a new movement originating in the U.K. and now operating internationally — that is demanding an emergency response to climate change. Recent nonviolent actions by Extinction Rebellion participants have shut down London streets in an effort to elevate their demands.
London and Extinction Rebellion join a network of organizations, individuals, and political leaders throughout the United States and Australia that have been coalescing around a set of core principles in what has been described as an emerging Climate Emergency Movement.
The Climate Emergency Movement advanced in the U.S. in recent weeks, with calls from Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and leading progressive Democrats to establish a select committee on a Green New Deal. The proposed policy framework calls for a transition to a renewable energy system within 10 years.
Core tenets of the Climate Emergency Movement include demands such as:
Decade transition to a zero-carbon economy (10 years or less to achieve net-zero or net-negative emissions across every sector)
Government, individual, and private sector spending to save as much life as possible (human and non-human) in the coming decades
Replacing the fossil fuel economy with economic development investments that meet human needs and respect human rights
The City of Los Angeles has been working to create a city-wide Climate Emergency Mobilization Department. Under the leadership of City Councilmember Paul Koretz, along with The Leap, and a coalition of leading environmental justice organizations called Leap L.A., Los Angeles is close to creating the nation’s first ever Climate Emergency Mobilization Department, which will be tasked with implementing the sweeping city-wide changes necessary to race to zero emissions and beyond.
“The tide is quickly turning toward the true climate emergency response we’ve been lacking for two decades,” said L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz, the author of the first Climate Emergency Mobilization Department legislation, adding “I’m so pleased to see one of the great historic cities of the world joining Darebin, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland, and Santa Cruz in emergency mobilization of the planet toward protecting the one thing we all have in common: our beautiful, fragile, majestic, and thus far still habitable Earth.”
The Cities of Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland, and Santa Cruz have declared Climate Emergency and begun a regional mobilization of the wider California Bay Area. Maryland’s Montgomery County and the city of Hoboken, New Jersey have also made the declaration, with many more local declarations in the works.
Climate change is an extraordinary crisis, and the international effort to stop it is almost unprecedented. The closest historical parallel to such an effort is the economic mobilization of the allied powers, especially the United States, as they entered World War II. This example formed the basis for our Victory Plan, which proposes emergency intervention to avert the destruction of life on earth.
London’s city government will publish an analysis Wednesday demonstrating the need for massive investment and additional governing powers to achieve its 2030 target. The program will include retrofitting buildings, creating a national electricity system that runs without creating greenhouse gas emissions, and electrifying the transportation system across the board.