Sample Legislation
Template: Climate Emergency Declaration Resolution
A sample resolution from The Climate Mobilization to help cities get started.
Climate Emergency Declaration Resolution Template
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WHEREAS, in April 2016 world leaders recognized the urgent need to combat climate change it by signing the Paris Agreement, agreeing to keep global warming “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C;”

WHEREAS, the death and destruction already wrought by current average global warming of over 1°C demonstrate that the Earth is already too hot for safety and justice, as attested by increased and intensifying wildfires, floods, rising seas, diseases, droughts, and extreme weather;

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, 1.5°C of global warming could expose 500 million people to water poverty, 36 million people to food insecurity because of lower crop yields, and 4.5 billion people to heat waves;

WHEREAS, in October 2018, the United Nations released a special report which projected that limiting warming to even the dangerous 1.5°C target this century will require an unprecedented transformation of every sector of the global economy by 2030;

WHEREAS, the United Nations November 2019 Emissions Gap Report finds that countries have collectively failed to stop the growth in emissions, meaning that deeper and faster emissions cuts are now required. In order to stay on track to meeting the Paris Agreement goals, the UN calls for immediate and aggressive action to achieve carbon by 2030; 

WHEREAS, climate change and the global industrialized economy’s overshoot of ecological limits are driving the Sixth Mass Extinction of species, could devastate much of life on Earth for many millennia, and 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 ecological emergencies and thus bears an extraordinary responsibility to rapidly solve these crises;

WHEREAS, in July 2019, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Earl Blumenauer, and Representative Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez introduced a concurrent Congressional resolution to declare a national climate emergency in the United States, calling for a “national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive scale to halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of the climate emergency and to restore the climate for future generations;”

WHEREAS, restoring a safe and stable climate requires a Climate Mobilization, an emergency mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II in order to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy; to rapidly and safely drawdown and remove all the excess carbon from the atmosphere at emergency speed and until safe, pre-industrial climate conditions are restored; and to implement measures to protect all people and species from the consequences of abrupt climate breakdown;

WHEREAS, such necessary measures to restore a safe climate include:

  1. A rapid, just, managed phase-out of fossil fuels;
  2. Ending greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible to establish a zero-emissions economy;
  3. A rapid transition to a 100% renewable energy system across all economic sectors;
  4. A widespread effort to safely drawdown excess carbon from the atmosphere;
  5. A full transition to a regenerative agriculture system; and
  6. An end to the Sixth Mass Extinction through widespread conservation and restoration of ecosystems;

WHEREAS, marginalized populations in [CITY/COUNTY] and worldwide, including people of color, immigrants, Indigenous communities, low-income individuals, people with disabilities, outdoor laborers, and the unhoused are already disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change, and will continue to bear an excess burden as temperatures increase, and disasters worsen; 

WHEREAS, the term “Just and Equitable Transition” is a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all its members; and;  

WHEREAS, a Just and Equitable 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, a Just and Equitable Transition requires that frontline and marginalized communities, which have historically borne the brunt of the extractive fossil-fuel economy, participate actively in the planning and implementation of this mobilization effort and that they benefit first from the transition to a climate-safe economy;

WHEREAS, fairness demands a guarantee of high-paying, good-quality jobs with comprehensive benefits for all, and many other tenets of a “Green New Deal” effort as the mobilization to restore a safe climate is launched;

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 global pandemic has both highlighted and exacerbated existing health inequalities that have resulted from climate change, such as neighborhoods with poorer air quality being disproportionately affected by the disease; 

WHEREAS, the massive scope and scale of action necessary to stabilize the climate and biosphere will require unprecedented levels of public awareness, engagement, and deliberation to develop and implement effective, just, and equitable policies to address the climate emergency;

WHEREAS, [CITY/COUNTY] can act as a global leader through initiating an emergency Climate Mobilization to convert to an ecologically, socially, and economically regenerative local economy at emergency speed, as well as advocating for regional, national, and international efforts necessary to reverse global warming and the ecological crisis; 

NOW BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, [CITY/COUNTY] declares that a climate and ecological emergency threatens our city, region, state, nation, civilization, humanity and the natural world;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, [CITY/COUNTY] commits to a [city/county]wide mobilization effort to reverse global warming and the ecological crisis, which, with appropriate financial and regulatory assistance from State and Federal authorities, ends [city/county]wide greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible and no later than 2030 and immediately initiates an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere, ensuring a Just and Equitable Transition for residents and accelerating adaptation and resilience strategies in preparation for intensifying local climate impacts; 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the [CITY/COUNTY] Council directs all [CITY/COUNTY] departments, proprietaries, and commissions to identify and pursue strategies and action to align with the goal of zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2030;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the [CITY/COUNTY] Council directs [RELEVANT DEPTS/AGENCY] to identify and pursue strategies and action to transition away from fossil fuel production, power generation, and use within [CITY/COUNT] limits, including immediate changes to building codes, local ordinances, and permitting processes to de-incentivize the construction of new local fossil fuel infrastructure;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the [CITY/COUNTY] Council directs all departments, proprietaries, and commissions to identify and prioritize climate adaptation and mitigation strategies that are people-centered, including:

1. Clean and renewable energy: involves deploying and efficiently using clean, renewable and locally sourced electricity generated on site or transmitted through the power grid; including upgrading public and private facilities to 100% renewable energy such as solar and battery storage.

2. Electrification and fossil fuel phase-out: involves upgrading and replacing carbon-intensive, fossil fuel-based infrastructure and combustion power with clean, renewably generated electric power. 

3. Carbon sequestration: involves drawing down carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through ecological and/or technological methods and capturing and safely storing them in plants, soils, water systems, and other solid forms;

4. Transportation, mobility, and connectivity: involves developing and enhancing land use patterns that foster safe, multimodal, accessible, equitable, intelligent, and clean motorized and non- motorized travel options, infrastructure, and community connectivity; including updating zoning codes to allow compatible residential infill and neighborhood-oriented commercial uses so that services like bakeries, grocery stores, and coffee shops are accessible to residents by foot or bike;

5. Resource conservation and the elimination of waste: involves conserving natural and manufactured resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recycling; including developing a community-wide Zero Waste Plan; adopting the “food recovery hierarchy” citywide through educational programs and policies to first promote the reduction of surplus food, and then ensure excess food is use to feed the hungry, animals, or composted before it ends in the landfill; expanding [CITY/COUNTY’S] conservation programs to further reduce water and resource use;

6. Green infrastructure and restorative ecology: involves incorporating green infrastructure (trees, capture and use of stormwater runoff) into community design, and restoring, rehabilitating, and repurposing damaged ecosystems through active intervention;

7. Climate adaptation and resilience: involves preparing for, learning from, and adapting to the effects of climate change through proactive and holistic planning and response at the infrastructural, cultural, and institutional levels; including limiting/restricting development in areas that are vulnerable to flooding, landslides, and wildfires; increasing the number of community cooling centers for vulnerable populations during extreme heat; incorporating changing climatic conditions and climate hazards into emergency response and recovery programs; ensuring affordable housing units are available for vulnerable communities. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the [CITY/COUNTY] Council directs the [CITY/COUNTY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER] and [EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT] to report back on opportunities and funding to address the climate and ecological emergency and its impacts through existing hazard mitigation programs;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, [CITY/COUNTY] directs the [CITY/COUNTY CLERK] to work with the [EXISTING SUSTAINABILITY STAFF/DEPARTMENT] to include greenhouse gas and co-pollutant impact statements, 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, the [CITY/COUNTY] shall, within 60 days of the passage of this resolution, work with [EXISTING SUSTAINABILITY STAFF/TOWN MANAGER] to appoint a Climate Emergency Mobilization Manager to oversee this community-wide mobilization effort, with all necessary powers to coordinate [CITY/COUNTY] climate and environmental programs including the development of a “Climate Mobilization Action Plan”  detailing the actions and strategies necessary to implement climate emergency response, including climate mitigation, resilience, adaptation, engagement, education, advocacy, and research and development programs; 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the [CITY/COUNTY] commits to keeping the concerns of frontline and marginalized central to all Climate Emergency Mobilization program planning processes and to inviting and encouraging such communities to actively participate in the development and implementation of this Climate Mobilization Action Plan and all climate mobilization efforts;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the [CITY/COUNTY] recognizes that the full participation, inclusion, support, and leadership of community organizations, faith communities, youth, labor organizations, academic institutions, indigenous groups, and racial, gender, family, immigrant and disability justice and organizations and other allies are integral to the climate emergency response and mobilization efforts; 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, [CITY/COUNTY] shall establish a Climate Justice task force comprised of environmental, economic, and racial justice leaders from [CITY/COUNTY] to directly inform the creation of the [CITY/COUNTY] Climate Mobilization Action Plan;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,  CITY/COUNTY] commits to directly engaging our residents in public deliberations, such as community assemblies, town halls, and public forums, on the climate emergency, which will directly inform the creation of the [CITY/COUNTY] Climate Mobilization Action Plan to ensure a just transition with the full democratic participation of the residents of [CITY/COUNTY];

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the [CITY/COUNTY] joins a national-wide call for a regional, national, and international climate emergency mobilization effort focused on rapidly catalyzing a mobilization at all levels of government to reverse global warming and the ecological crisis; 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, [CITY/COUNTY] calls on the State of ________, the United States Congress, the President of the United States, and all governments and people worldwide to declare a climate emergency, initiate a Climate Mobilization to reverse global warming and the ecological crisis, and provide maximum protection for all people and species of the world; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, in furtherance of this resolution, the [CITY/COUNTY] shall submit a certified copy of this resolution to [FEDERAL, STATE, REGIONAL, COUNTY ELECTED OFFICIALS, RELEVANT AGENCIES] and request that all relevant support and assistance in effectuating this resolution be provided.