File #: 2019-6622   
Type: Consent Calendar Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 3/19/2019
Title: Adoption of Resolution to Endorse Declaration of a Climate Emergency and Request Regional Collaboration on an Immediate Just Transition and Emergency Mobilization Effort to Restore a Safe Climate. (Public Works 001)
Attachments: 1. Resolution, 2. Resolution - REVISED, 3. Submittal



Adoption of Resolution to Endorse Declaration of a Climate Emergency and Request Regional Collaboration on an Immediate Just Transition and Emergency Mobilization Effort to Restore a Safe Climate. (Public Works 001)



To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council


From: David L. Rudat, Interim City Manager




By adopting a climate emergency declaration, the City of Alameda (City) would join many neighbors-globally, nationally, regionally, and locally-in underlining the need for immediate and sustained mobilization to limit global climate change and address its impacts.




The City has been working to address global climate change for more than a decade. In 2008, Alameda adopted the Local Action Plan for Climate Protection, which included a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% below 2005 levels by the year 2020. In December of 2017, City Council approved a process to update the 2008 plan. Since the spring of 2018, a group of City staff representing various departments, community groups, and many Alamedans have embarked on development of a Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (Plan). This Plan will set GHG emissions reduction goals for 2030 and 2050, will recommend strategies for reaching those goals, and builds on a robust collaboration between the City, Community Action for Sustainable Alameda (CASA), many Alameda organizations, and hundreds of individual Alamedans.


In October 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The report states 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 estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by 2°C, this report shows that many of the adverse impacts of climate change will come at the 1.5°C mark. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on climate change states that as of 2012, the average global temperature had already increased by 0.85°C since 1880.


In April 2017, the California Ocean Protection Council published guidance from a group of climate change scientists in Rising Seas in California - An Update on Sea-Level Rise Science. Given the range of possible rates of sea level rise in the 21st century, it recommends decision-makers prepare for 1.9 feet of sea level rise by 2050 and 6.9 feet of sea level rise by 2100. The forthcoming Plan will be informed by these projections.




The Climate Emergency Declaration is a call to action initiated by climate action advocates in Australia in 2016. Since then, cities and organizations around the world have signed petitions and adopted resolutions supporting the declaration. Locally, the declaration has been adopted by the cities of Richmond, Oakland, Hayward, and Berkeley. Los Angeles County and several cities within it have also adopted the declaration. The cities of Cupertino, Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, Albany, and Emeryville are considering adopting the declaration. The City of Berkeley is leading efforts in the Bay Area and has convened a task force to plan a regional summit to take place in the spring on “Climate Mobilization - Forward Together Faster.”


The declaration provides many reasons for the need for immediate action and includes calls for:


                     An urgent citywide climate mobilization effort to reverse global warming.

                     Reduction of citywide GHG emissions as quickly as possible towards zero net emissions.

                     A commitment to educate the community about the climate emergency and work to catalyze an urgent climate mobilization effort at the local, state, national, and global levels.


Approval of this resolution is important given the gravity of the present moment. There is an ongoing mass extinction of species spurred by human activity. Incidents of extreme heat, damaging storms and floods, and wildfires and their associated smoke-all of which increase with climate change-have impacted our nation, state, and community. Awareness is growing that low-income community members, who contribute the least to climate change, will bear the brunt of its impacts, and the needs of community members who are low-income or face other disadvantages should be prioritized in climate-related programs. The emergency climate declaration is consistent with the framework of Alameda’s Strategic Economic Development Plan, which prioritizes the development of clean tech, green tech, and blue tech industries in Alameda, along with pathways for employment in these industries by local residents. Finally, this effort is fueled by a vibrant climate action community here in Alameda, anchored by the volunteer group CASA.


Some versions of this declaration have committed cities to carbon neutrality by 2030. Alameda’s declaration supports a global push to zero net emissions no later than 2030, but does not commit the City to this specific goal given such goal setting will be done in the City’s Plan. The Plan will be proposed for adoption by the City Council in July 2019, will include measurable targets for both 2030 and 2050, and represents an 18-month, community driven process.


Once approved by the City Council, this declaration will be submitted to Alameda’s federal, regional, and state representatives and public agencies.




There would be no immediate impact on the City’s General Fund since implementation of the declaration would be accomplished with existing staff. However, efforts to reduce Alameda’s greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change will require significant investments of funds, including General Funds.




This action does not affect the Municipal Code.




In accordance with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), this project is categorically exempt under CEQA Guidelines section 15308, Actions by Regulatory Agencies for Protection of the Environment. Adoption of the climate emergency declaration would renew Alameda’s commitment to addressing climate change and would result in increased efforts to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions.




Adopt a resolution to endorse declaration of a climate emergency and request regional collaboration on an immediate just transition and emergency mobilization effort to restore a safe climate.


Respectfully submitted,

Liam Garland, Public Works Director



Patrick Pelegri-O’Day, Climate Action Coordinator


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director