Hayward City Council Declares Climate Emergency
On January 15th, the Hayward City Council unanimously approved a resolution endorsing the declaration of a climate emergency. The Declaration states that climate change threatens our community, as well as cities across the globe, and requests regional collaboration in restoring a safe concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
The Climate Emergency Declaration was adopted as the threat of climate change intensifies. In October 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report revealing that human activities have caused approximately 1°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, and that global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. While previous estimates focused on the damages caused by an increase of 2°C, this report showed that many adverse impacts will happen at just a 1.5°C increase, including a rise in sea level, floods, droughts, diseases, and extreme weather. Keeping the Earth from reaching this level of warming will require drastic emission reductions. Specifically, greenhouse gas emissions will need to be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and net zero emissions will need to be achieved across the globe by 2050.
Given the urgent need to reduce emissions, an organization called the Climate Mobilization has called for a city-by-city strategy to address the threat of climate change. The Campaign calls on cities to declare a climate emergency, work toward eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, and demand that their local, state, and national governments initiate a massive, economy- and society-wide mobilization effort to address climate change.
In this vein, Hayward’s Climate Emergency Declaration states that a climate emergency threatens the City and requests appropriate financial and regulatory assistance from the County of Alameda, the State of California, and Federal authorities. It commits the City to an urgent climate mobilization effort, which includes reducing citywide emissions to net zero as quickly as possible, immediately initiating an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere, and accelerating adaptation and resilience strategies in preparation for intensifying climate impacts.
The Climate Emergency Declaration has been adopted by cities around the country and the world. In the Bay Area, Hayward joins the cities of Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland, and Santa Cruz in declaring a climate emergency. The City of Berkeley has also convened a task force to plan a regional summit that will take place in the Spring, entitled “Climate Mobilization – Forward Together Faster.” City of Hayward staff plan to participate in the task force.