Austin Texas Joins Growing List of Cities Declaring Climate Emergency

Resolution Marks the First Climate Emergency Declaration in a US Southern City

Contact: Malik Russell / malik@climatemobilization.org  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUSTIN, TX (August 9, 2019)—Last night the city of Austin, Texas became the first Southern city in the United States to join the over 941 governments/jurisdictions around the world to declare a #ClimateEmergency with a unanimous vote by the City Council.  

The resolution calls for “declaring a climate emergency and calling for immediate and coordinated mobilization by the City to address the causes and consequences of climate change and directing the City Manager to take appropriate action.”

In addition to declaring a climate emergency, the resolution calls for the following: • The creation of an accountability and reporting structure to clarify climate leadership responsibilities • Amplifying Austin’s external and community engagement on climate policy to make the climate crisis a priority • More aggressive targets to reach Austin’s current net-zero goals • Innovative policy ideas to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis currently being felt • An alignment of emergency management plans around the climate crisis, to prepare for and respond to natural hazards.

Sponsored by Councilmember Alison Alter, along with Councilmembers Leslie Pool, MeAnn Kitchen, Kathie Tovo, and Gregorio Casar; local advocates view declaring a climate emergency as not simply a scream to wake up those asleep to the dangers our communities face due to unnatural warming; but as a means to weigh in on the policies and actions necessary to do something about it. 

“The first step in solving any problem is to name it,” said lead sponsor Councilmember Alter. “The climate crisis is an emergency. We must treat it like one. An emergency threatens our very being. In an emergency, we marshal all our resources towards solving the problem. As local elected officials, it is our job to call the emergency as we see it, respond accordingly, and invite our residents to be part of the solution. That is what this resolution does.”

“We support Austin, Texas in declaring a climate emergency,” said Ezra Silk, Director of Policy and Strategy for The Climate Mobilization – a national organization committed to organizing a national WWII-scale mobilization of resources to combat global warming.

“We are hoping this resolution will also lead to a citizen's assembly on the climate emergency, getting to zero greenhouse gas emissions city-wide before 2030, by implementing a carbon removal strategy and creating a city-wide climate emergency plan," added Silk.

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Matt Renner