The Push for a
Climate Emergency Mobilization Department in Los Angeles
Like many cities, Los Angeles has set goals for addressing climate change and has taken some steps towards achieving them. But a closer look reveals key shortcomings in the city’s plan:
First, the city’s response was barely funded and scattered across numerous departments, with no clear enforcement mechanism or accountability for the city’s goals, and with many climate and sustainability plans sitting on the shelves.
More troubling, the city planned for a 30+-year timeline to reduce emissions by 80% -- a gradual, business-as-usual, non-science-based approach that did little to change the city’s collision course with global warming and did not provide the level of leadership the city claims to provide.
Facing these problems, organizers came up with a solution: a new city department specifically in charge of planning and coordinating city-wide mobilization to both achieve a just, near-zero emissions economy by 2025 and to launch a large-scale carbon drawdown effort.
Championed by L.A. City Council Member Paul Koretz, the proposed Los Angeles Climate Emergency Mobilization Department will ensure the city’s climate and resiliency plans are adequate to respond to the existential threat of climate catastrophe. It would have all the powers necessary to coordinate city departments in implementing the mobilization, and to ensure that Los Angeles’s emergency mobilization plans provide the greatest benefits to the communities most impacted by climate change and environmental racism.
The new department will also work to catalyze a global response to the climate emergency by organizing in three directions, upwards, outwards and downwards:
Reaching upwards to county, state and federal governments, urging them to launch climate emergency mobilizations, provide financial assistance to L.A., and pass regulations to support L.A.’s mobilization
Reaching outwards and forming alliances with other local governments to coordinate climate emergency programs, and to push for emergency action at higher levels of government
Reaching downwards to solidify the transformation of L.A.’s economy, including a public education and engagement campaign that helps Angelenos spread awareness of the climate emergency and increases residents’ commitment to supporting the effort.
The city of Los Angeles is currently studying the feasibility of creating the department. If the department is created and fully funded, Los Angeles will show the world that it is beginning to treat climate change like the existential threat it is.