Climate Emergency: Cities Sound the Alarm and Spring into Action

Aug 24th 2020

By Sam Laird Bank of the West  
Nick Acosta

More than 1 of every 10 people on Earth now lives in a community where climate change is officially an emergency. Cities, counties, countries—even the entire European Union—have formally declared a climate emergency. The Verge called 2019 “the year of ‘climate emergency’ declarations,” and the movement is rapidly gaining momentum and fueling action.

While the coronavirus pandemic presents an immediate crisis, these governments and municipalities also remain focused on the longer-term challenge of global warming.

Thirty-two of the 101 places in the U.S. that have made climate emergency declarations are in Northern California. This puts the region at the vanguard of climate solutions.

Here, we spotlight tangible actions from 8 Northern California cities that have declared a climate emergency. Some of the steps listed were taken before the declarations, which don’t always include specific action plans. But in every case, the cities that have declared a climate emergency are leading with real action. In our changing world, these proactive communities offer a preview of what a truly sustainable city could look like in the not-so-distant future.

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Sam Laird Bank of the West

Sam joined Bank of the West in 2019 after more than 10 years in journalism. He’s also worked as a teacher, a grant writer, and a janitor, and prefers to spend his free time in nature.

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