The first demand of Extinction Rebellion is that governments Tell the Truth about the emergency of climate breakdown. If our governments do not acknowledge the threat to our city and life across the planet, how can we hope address it? We aim to make them.
XR NYC’s short term campaign is for the City of New York to declare a climate emergency with an aggressive target for reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions and drawdown. Right across the Hudson in 2017 Hoboken was the first city in the US to declare a climate emergency, then Montgomery County Maryland, a million residents strong outside DC, followed shortly thereafter. Since then Oakland, San Francisco, and cities across the US and world have jumped on board.
But the largest win yet came only a month after Extinction Rebellion’s launch and Declaration of Rebellion in the UK when London declared a climate emergency and target of carbon neutrality by 2030.
More maps and background for global climate emergency declaration campaigns, including the template our declaration language came from, can be found here courtesy of The Climate Mobilization.
This declaration will not be a last step, but a first step to enacting binding and aggressive climate change mitigation policies that are line with the dire science of climate breakdown. If NYC aims to lead it needs to start here.
Draft NYC Climate Emergency Declaration:
DRAFT RESOLUTION ENDORSING THE DECLARATION OF A CLIMATE EMERGENCY AND AN IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY MOBILIZATION TO RESTORE A SAFE CLIMATE
WHEREAS, on April 22, 2016, world leaders from 175 countries recognized the threat of climate change and the urgent need to combat it by signing the Paris Agreement, agreeing to keep warming “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C,”;
WHEREAS, on October 8, 2018, the United Nations released a special report, which projected that limiting warming to the 1.5°C target this century will require an unprecedented transformation of every sector of the global economy over the next 12 years;
WHEREAS, on November 23, 2018 the Federal Government issued a climate study detailing the massive threat that climate change poses to the American economy and underscoring the need for immediate climate emergency action at all levels of government
WHEREAS, the death and destruction already wrought by global warming of approximately 1.1°C above late 19th century levels demonstrates that the Earth is already too hot for safety, as attested by increased and intensifying wildfires, floods, rising seas, diseases, droughts and extreme weather;
WHEREAS, climate change and the global economy’s overshoot of ecological limits are driving the sixth mass extinction of species, which has caused a 60% decline in global wildlife populations since 1970, could devastate much of life on Earth for the next 10 million years, and the mass species extinction may pose as great a risk to humanity as climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services;
WHEREAS, the United States of America has disproportionately contributed to the climate and extinction emergencies and has repeatedly obstructed global efforts to transition toward a green economy, and thus bears an extraordinary responsibility to rapidly address these existential threats;
WHEREAS, restoring a safe and stable climate requires transformative societal and economic change on a scale not seen since World War II to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, to rapidly and safely drawdown or remove all the excess carbon from the atmosphere, to end the 6th mass extinction of species, and to implement measures to protect all people and species from the increasingly severe consequences of climate change;
WHEREAS, the proposed would be a sweeping overhaul of the economy that centers equity and justice in its solutions and has the following goals:
Dramatically expand existing renewable power sources and deploy new production capacity with the goal of meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources; building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid; upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety; eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country; eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure, and upgrading water infrastructure to ensure universal access to clean water; funding massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases; making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries to completely greenhouse gas neutral economies and bringing about a global transition.
WHEREAS, marginalized populations in The City of New York and worldwide, including people of color, immigrants, indigenous communities, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities, and the unhoused are already disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change, and will continue to bear an excess burden as temperatures increase, oceans rise, and disasters worsen;
WHEREAS, addressing climate change fairly requires a “Just Transition” that is ecologically sustainable and equitable for all people, especially those most impacted by climate change already and those who will be most impacted in the future,
WHEREAS, core to a Just Transition is equity, self-determination, culture, tradition, deep democracy, and the belief that people around the world have a fundamental human right to clean, healthy and adequate air, water, land, food, education, healthcare, and shelter;
WHEREAS, Just Transition strategies were first forged by a “blue-green” alliance of labor unions and environmental justice groups who saw the need to phase out the industries that were harming workers, community health, and the planet, while also providing just pathways for workers into new livelihoods;
WHEREAS, Just Transition initiatives shift the economy from dirty energy to energy democracy, from funding new highways to expanding public transit, from incinerators and landfills to zero waste products, from industrial food systems to food sovereignty, from car-dependent sprawl and destructive unbridled growth to smart urban development without displacement and from destructive over-development to habitat and ecosystem restoration;
WHEREAS, building a society that is resilient to the current, expected, and potential effects of climate change will protect health, lives, ecosystems, and economies, and such resilience efforts will have the greatest positive impact if the most dramatic potential consequences of climate change are taken into account;
WHEREAS, justice calls for climate resilience that addresses the specific experiences, vulnerabilities, and needs of marginalized communities within our jurisdiction, who must be included and supported in actively engaging in climate resilience planning, policy, and actions;
WHEREAS, actions to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and/or drawdown greenhouse gases may be taken in ways that also improve resilience to the effects of climate change, and vice versa;
WHEREAS, justice requires that frontline communities, which have historically borne the brunt of the extractive fossil-fuel economy, participate actively in the planning and implementation of this mobilization effort at all levels of government and that they benefit first from the transition to a renewable energy economy;
WHEREAS, fairness demands the protection and expansion of workers’ right to organize as well as a guarantee of high-paying, high-quality jobs with comprehensive benefits for all as the mobilization to restore a safe climate is launched;
WHEREAS, common sense demands that this unprecedented mobilization effort address the full suite of existential ecological threats facing humanity in a comprehensive, integrated and timely fashion;
WHEREAS, nearly 400 cities, districts and counties across the world representing over 34 million people collectively have recently declared or officially acknowledged the existence of a global climate emergency, including Hoboken, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Montgomery County, Oakland, Richmond, and Santa Cruz in the United States, Bristol and London in the United Kingdom and many cities in Australia, Canada, and Switzerland;
WHEREAS, The City of New York, as the largest city in the United States, can act as a global leader by both converting to an ecologically, socially, and economically regenerative economy at emergency speed, and by rapidly organizing a regional just transition and climate emergency mobilization effort;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The City of New York declares that a climate emergency threatens our city, region, state, nation, civilization, humanity and the natural world
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York commits to a citywide just transition and climate emergency mobilization effort to reverse global warming, which, with appropriate financial and regulatory assistance from New York State and Federal authorities, reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions to net zero as quickly as possible and no later than 2025, immediately initiates an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere, and accelerates adaptation and resilience strategies in preparation for intensifying climate impacts;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York commits to calling on higher levels of government to provide all necessary financial and regulatory assistance in support of its efforts to end citywide greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible and no later than 2025, to draw down greenhouse gases, and to accelerate adaptation and resilience strategies;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York commits to educating our residents about the climate emergency and organizing and advocating for a just transition and climate emergency mobilization effort at the local, regional, state, national, and global levels to provide maximum protection for our residents as well as all the people and species of the world;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York commits to take immediate actions to safeguard against the inevitable and potential consequences of climate change through climate resilience efforts at the local, regional, state, national, and global levels, and to invite the full participation of all communities in climate resilience efforts, including those communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York commits to coordinating its mobilization to restore a safe climate with its initiatives to increase climate resilience, in ways that best use available physical and economic resources and the energies and efforts of The City of New York’s staff, residents, advocates, and allies, reversing all current laws and policies not in accordance with zero emissions by 2025;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York underscores the need for full community participation, inclusion, and support, and recognizes that the residents of The City of New York and community organizations, faith, youth, labor, business, academic institutions, homeowners’ associations, and environmental, economic, racial, gender, family and disability justice and indigenous, immigrant and women’s rights organizations and other such allies who will be integral to and in the leadership of the mobilization effort;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York commits to keeping the concerns of vulnerable communities central to all just transition and climate emergency mobilization planning processes and to inviting and encouraging such communities to actively participate in order to advocate directly for their needs;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York commits to organizing a regional just transition and climate emergency mobilization collaborative effort focused on transforming our region and rapidly catalyzing a mobilization at all levels of government to restore a safe climate;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York calls on the State of NY, the United States Federal Government, and all governments and peoples worldwide to initiate an immediate social and economic mobilization to reverse global warming and ecological overshoot that restores near pre-industrial global average temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations, immediately halts the development of all new fossil fuel infrastructure, rapidly phase out the use of fossil fuels and the technologies which rely upon them, ends greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible, initiates an effort to safely draw down the excess carbon from the atmosphere, transitions to regenerative agriculture, ends the sixth mass extinction of species, protects and expands workers’ right to organize, and creates and guarantees high-quality, high-paying jobs with comprehensive benefits for all those who will be impacted by this emergency response;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York Council directs the Council’s Legislative Division to report back within 60 days on the establishment of a Climate Emergency Mobilization Department that would serve as a hub for organizing this social and economic mobilization effort and with all necessary powers to plan and coordinate all of The City of New York's climate and resilience responses, including emergency climate mitigation, resilience, adaptation, engagement, education, advocacy, and research and development programs, beginning with a robust climate emergency public education and stakeholder outreach process that includes the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the Department of Environmental Protection, biologists, ecologists and climate scientists, social and environmental justice advocates, local labor unions and union federations, local Non-Governmental Organizations, neighborhood councils, homeowners’ associations, and business groups;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York Council directs that an all-staff meeting be held to educate The City of New York staff on the latest climate and ecological science and the emergency mobilization needed in response within two weeks of the date of this resolution;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York Council directs all City of New York Departments, proprietaries, and commissions to report back within 30 days of the date of the all-staff meeting referenced above on maximum emergency reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from their operations feasible by the end of 2025;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York Council directs the Department of City Planning to report back on opportunities for radical greenhouse gas and co-pollutant emissions reductions and greenhouse gas drawdown opportunities through the City’s planning process;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York Council directs New York City Emergency Management to report back on opportunities and funding to address climate and environmental emergencies and mitigation through existing hazard mitigation programs;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of New York Council directs the City Clerk to work with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the Department of Environmental Protection to include greenhouse gas and co-pollutant impact statements and greenhouse gas and co-pollutant reduction and greenhouse gas drawdown statements in all relevant Council motions, much as it currently includes fiscal impact statements;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, with the concurrence of the Mayor, The City of New York hereby includes in its 2019 and 2020 Federal Legislative Program support to respond to the climate emergency and related legislation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, in furtherance of this resolution, the City shall submit a certified copy of this resolution to all relevant federal, state, regional, and county elected representatives and agencies and request that all possible support and assistance in effectuating this resolution be provided.