The exponential growth of local Climate Emergency declarations
The number of Climate Emergency declarations has spiked in recent months, signaling the spreading sense of urgency matched by political will to take bold action at the local level in the face of the worsening climate crisis.
This time last year, only 2 local governments in the United States and a small handful of cities around the world had made this declaration. As of March 22, 2019, 413 local governments had declared a Climate Emergency and made a commitment to rapid, just transition away from fossil fuels. These governments represent over 34 million people—exponential growth is here and the charts below show it.
This accelerating adoption of Climate Emergency declaration is tremendously hopeful.
Activists from The Climate Mobilization and allied groups from across the globe are taking this message to their local governments and are increasingly finding cooperative, sympathetic reception. In more and more places, elected officials are standing up and, through these official declaration of Climate Emergency, publicly acknowledging the crucial need for mobilization.
Though the language of the declarations varies, they share these key themes:
Commitment to reach zero emissions and begin drawing down excess greenhouse gas from the atmosphere at emergency speed.
Dedication to democracy, and consideration for historically marginalized groups and frontline communities most impacted by climate change and fossil fuel pollution.
Willingness and enthusiasm to join the global movement to restore a safe climate for humanity and the natural world, also known as the Climate Emergency Movement.
You can read examples of these resolutions from the United States here.
This is a transnational effort with declarations of climate emergency being championed by local groups and elected officials in every region that has declared.
Together we are showing that local governments can make concrete changes in their collective carbon footprint, educate local residents and businesses about the need for mobilization, and spread the concept to higher levels of government—ultimately pressuring national governments to implement sweeping change.
Declarations this month:
Thus far in March of 2019, 17 local governments have declared Climate Emergency, including the cities of Alameda and Fairfax in California and Crystal Bay Township in Minnesota, along with Plymouth and Portsmouth in the United Kingdom and Canton de Vaud/Waadt in Switzerland.
Alameda, California declared Climate Emergency on March 19, 2019. Read the full resolution here.
An excerpt from the Alameda resolution:
These local governments are at the forefront of the kind of innovative, visionary leadership that the climate crisis requires. We are grateful for their initiative and the momentum they have sparked. We look forward to following, encouraging and supporting the next phase of this effort as councils decide on concrete steps to move toward local Mobilization policy, and become advocates for emergency Climate Mobilization within their own borders, regionally, and on a national level.