City by City
The dangers of climate change, environmental racism and ecological destruction are looming over California. From wildfires, to drought, to toxic pollution, to sea level rise, we face more lethal risks every day. And today, we are almost out of time.
Every year of business as usual guarantees more climate catastrophe: more wars, displacement, flooding, and famine. This will bring unimaginable suffering to residents of California, and people all over the world. We can’t hide from the truth any longer: Global warming threatens to destroy our cities, our state and most life on earth.
As more and more Californians recognize these facts, thousands are taking action to create a world where all of humanity can thrive.
In April 2018, the Los Angeles City Council began to recognize climate change as the emergency it is -- voting unanimously to explore the creation and funding of America's first Climate Emergency Mobilization Department.
If approved, the L.A. Department will transform the city into a guardian of the climate, a first responder to the climate emergency and a spark for other cities to mobilize.
The new department will not just coordinate an emergency effort to transform L.A. by creating a just, green economy. It will push other cities, states and government agencies to recognize the climate emergency, catalyzing a global mobilization to protect people the world over from climate change.
Los Angeles is poised to join Berkeley, CA, Hoboken, NJ and Montgomery County, MD as the fourth city to recognize the existential risk of the climate emergency. These victories fill the void left by federal and state inaction on climate. They build our movement in three ways:
- They generate momentum for local governments and residents to demand that state and federal officials take emergency action to restore a safe climate.
- They create local solutions that eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and build a fairer economy, taking crucial steps toward a future of hope and community.
- They break the deadly silence around the climate emergency by encouraging cities elsewhere to declare climate emergencies and commit it to responding at emergency speed to restore a safe climate.
And here is what we’ve learned: our cities can and must become advocates who mobilize their people, other cities, and higher levels of government to spark a national and global climate mobilization effort. To protect their residents, cities must become first responders to the global climate crisis. This means becoming regional, national and international leaders who act as climate guardians by working to get other governments on board with a climate emergency response.
This groundbreaking political opening is only possible because of months of determined organizing by dozens of organizations and hundreds of residents. Their hard work opens a window of opportunity for us to grow the climate emergency movement and pass similar measures around California.
City by city, we will shift California into climate emergency mode, energizing local governments to protect residents and people the world over from climate change. We will build momentum to pass a package of state laws that would harness the power and potential of all Californians to fight climate change at emergency speed. And once California launches a statewide mobilization to restore a safe climate, the whole U.S. could come next.
How far will the momentum from these victories spread?
That depends on you!
We welcome participation from individuals and organizations taking action to launch a climate emergency campaign in your part of the Golden State. You can share your actions and victories online using the hashtag #MobilizeCA. If you wish to officially endorse the Mobilize California campaign, or if you need resources or support beyond what’s offered in this toolkit, contact MobilizeCA@climatemobilization.org
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.