Assembly Proposal : Support NHCM Letter to New Haven Government

Title: Support Climate Movement Letter to New Haven Government

Motion: Support New Haven Climate Movement Letter to New Haven Government

Background: 

Would 350CT be willing to sign on to a letter calling for the Resolution’s passage?  We would also like to meet with you to explore how  350CT could help create the response needed to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Sign on Letter Supporting Climate Emergency Resolution

Dear Mayor Harp and Board of Alders,

We, the undersigned organizations, are very concerned that global warming has already set in motion disastrous changes to the Earth system including: accelerating ice mass loss from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, melting of the Arctic and thawing of the permafrost, ocean acidification, accelerating species extinction, and year round forest fires. In addition, 19,000 scientists, in the 2nd Warning to Humanity (2017), agree that the only way to avoid “vast human misery” is to greatly change our quality of stewardship to the earth. The extreme urgency of the challenge was underlined by the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As a result, we are asking New Haven to join with other cities across the country and declare a climate emergency—entailing the mobilization of programs to offer mitigation, resilience, and education on global warming.

We call on Mayor Harp and the New Haven Board of Alders to pass the Climate Emergency Resolution and immediately lead the community towards restoring a safe climate.

Reasons for Emergency Action on Climate Change.

  1. We have already created dangerous amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which have permanently damaged critical ecosystems and forced Earth climate systems into uncharted territory. These systems are very complex making it difficult to predict how a change in one Earth system might cascade into other systems.
  2. The present level of warming is already doing significant damage to marginalized communities around the world—who are not responsible for creating climate change. They are experiencing an increasing frequency of heat waves, extreme weather events, and droughts causing displacement, infectious disease, famine, and death.
  3. Even at present GHG levels, the warming of the planet will continue for centuries and continue to melt ice sheets and glaciers and raise sea level. The last time the Earth had GHG levels this high, sea level was 20 feet higher, a huge threat to coastal communities.
  4. Each year of continued GHG emissions increases the risk of triggering natural feedback loops that will accelerate GHG emissions (Ex: global warming sparks more droughts and forest fires, fires produce more CO2, which then creates even more global warming).
  5. Waiting to invest in climate solutions allows for more damage and more costs to incur through extreme weather events, changes in ecosystems creating long term challenges that will be very expensive to remedy.Given that all of human development (agriculture, city location, infrastructure, economies, etc) is designed in the previous climate system, it is imperative to keep the climate as stable as possible.
  6. Ocean acidification, which results from CO2 being absorbed into the oceans, has made the oceans 30% more acidic. This negatively impacts shellfish reproduction, accelerating the collapse of coral reefs, and threatening other key species.
  7. The longer we wait to shift off fossil fuels the greater cost future generations will have to pay for our inaction.
  8. Weather records are regularly being shattered across the country including; 50 inches of rain in Houston, extensive drought in California, Hurricane Maria’s destruction of Puerto Rico, and countless others. Globally, we have seen the strongest typhoon ever with 200 mph winds and heat in India so high the government told people not to go out from 10am to 4pm.
  9. Climate change is accelerating species extinction with the present rate of extinction 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate (Center for Biological Diversity).
  10. Climate change is increasingly damaging our economy by disrupting supply chains, interrupting work, destroying essential infrastructure, causing displacement of workers, costing massive amounts of money for the response and defense of communities, and risks causing a carbon bubble related financial crisis.

 

What might a City Emergency Response look like?

  • Hire energy efficiency staffing, pass Energy Efficiency ordinance.
  • Hire staff to lead Climate Framework implementation, coordinate emergency response, and seek private funding.
  • Create committee of Department heads to coordinate emergency response.
  • City Departments will develop plans to cut GHG emissions by 25% by 2021.
  • Lead public education on Climate Emergency through all City departments as appropriate and have Board of Education incorporate climate education and action in high schools.
  • Hire transportation staff to expand alternative transportation resources.
  • Implement projects that free existing City funds for emergency work, like Pay As You Throw trash program which would reduce waste disposal costs.
  • Work to involve key institutions (universities, Chamber, YNHH, unions, etc) in effort.
  • Have City’s state delegation support policies in Hartford that promote Emergency Mobilization at state level, and that enable mobilization locally including providing funds to local communities to expand response.
  • Prioritize projects that create local jobs and create public health savings.
  • Partner with NHCM and other Resolution organizers to reach neighborhoods and mobilize other organizations.
  • Expand tree planting and greening of public and private spaces to capture carbon and especially provide cooling in neighborhoods.
  • Move approved Framework goal of 55% GHG reductions from 2030 to 2025.