OCAC Sign-On Letter: Climate Emergency Declaration & Just Transition Resolution
October 30, 2018

Oakland City Council, Public Works Committee Members
1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, 2nd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Dear Members of the Oakland City Council,

The undersigned organizations are writing to strongly support passage of the Climate Emergency Declaration & Just Transition Resolution that was passed unanimously by the Public Works Committee on October .

Last week’s United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes it clear that climate change is an existential threat to the survival of humanity. Our window for meaningful climate action to hold the world warming at 1.5C is vanishingly short - 12 years at the very most. As the chair of the IPCC said, "Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

The report laid out the difference between 1.5C and 2C of warning: the projected deaths of approximately 420 million people globally, from drought, famine, lack of potable drinking water, flooding, fires, extreme storms and hurricanes. We are nowhere close to keeping warming to 2C, even with the existing climate commitments of local and national governments. Some climate scientists estimate that we are now looking at up to a 3-4C world, which could condemn us to an uninhabitable planet.

As we witnessed in 2018 in the United States alone, from the historic devastation caused by Hurricanes Michael and Florence on the Eastern seaboard, to the chaos caused by wildfires in California, climate change is already an emergency.

The impacts of climate change are being felt most dramatically by frontline communities: low-income people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and Oakland’s houseless residents. Given that frontline communities are also least responsible for causing the climate crisis, it is undeniable that climate change is an urgent economic and racial justice crisis.

It's up to all of us to work together to chart a path of Just Transition from an extractive, destructive and racist economy towards equitable, regenerative and local living economies that uphold human rights and the life support systems of the Earth. Ensuring the leadership of frontline and indigenous communities in this Just Transition is a practical necessity, not just an ideological or symbolic gesture. Key to a Just Transition is the City of Oakland working in partnership with community-based organizations to address the historic inequities of Oakland that have resulted from the legacy of
redlining and disinvestment.

Oakland’s flatlands residents in East and West Oakland, Fruitvale and Chinatown experience far greater rates of asthma, cancer, respiratory illness, and diabetes - illnesses resulting from an unhealthy polluted environment and extractive economy. Flatlands residents, particularly African Americans, are also facing unprecedented rates of displacement, resulting in Oakland losing a quarter of our city’s Black population to far-flung communities in the outer East Bay, diminishing the diversity that makes Oakland special. Meanwhile, people with middle- and upper-incomes have the financial ability to make personal investments in personally sustainable choices: solar panels, hybrid or electric vehicles, energy efficiency improvements, and permaculture gardens.

The current scenario is Eco-Apartheid. We need Eco-Justice.

At this time in history, a livable future for any of our children is far from guaranteed. We must do everything in our power today to create a safe, just and healthy world for ourselves, for our children and for future generations.

Your Climate Emergency Declaration & Just Transition Resolution before the Public Works Committee is an opportunity to clarify and solidify the City of Oakland’s commitment to an equitable approach to climate action. The City of Oakland would be joining with the Cities of Richmond and Berkeley, which both voted unanimously to advance this same Resolution.

As Dr. King said prophetically in 1967, “ We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. This may well be humankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community. ”

By declaring a Climate Emergency and articulating the need to advance a rapid mobilization towards a Just Transition, the language of this Resolution matches the urgency and scale of the ecological, economic and climate crisis that we face.

Thank you for passing this Resolution at this evening's October 30th City Council meeting.

Respectfully,

Colin Miller
Coordinator, Oakland Climate Action Coalition

Marquita Price
The East Oakland Collective

Haleh Zandi
Planting Justice

Greg Jackson
Sustainable Economies Law Center

Shreya Shankar
Rooted in Resilience

Barbara Stebbins & Al Weinrub
Local Clean Energy Alliance

Beth Teper, Robin Freeman & David Ralston
Brower Dellums Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies & Action

Miya Yoshitani
Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Ms. Margaret Gordon
West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project

Michelle Mascarenhas-Swan
Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Center

Igor Tregub
Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter

Armando Davila
The Climate Mobilization

Susan Stephenson
California Interfaith Power & Light

Janice L. Kirsch, M.D., M.P.H.
San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility

Joshua Lee
AYPAL: Building API Community Power

Carolyn Noor
Youth Vs Apocalypse

Jack Lucero Fleck
350 East Bay

Bradley Angel
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice

Minna Toloui
Berkeley Climate Action Coalition

Rochelle Towers
1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations

Laura Allen
Greywater Action

Beth Weinberger
Kehilla Community Synagogue

Bonnie Borucki
Transition Berkeley

Tom B. Smith
Earth Justice Associates of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland

Jeannette Henriquez
Mycelium Youth Network

Jodi Pincus
Rising Sun Energy Center

Phoenix Armenta
Resilient Communities Initiative

Lisa Ferguson
Climate Compassion

Mari Rose Taruc
Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES)

Amy Halpern-Laff
Green Monday

Tyrone Stevenson Jr.
The Original Scraper Bike Team

Shoshana Wechsler
Sunflower Alliance

Kemba Shakur
Urban Releaf

Margaret Rossoff
No Coal In Oakland

Sheila Kolenc, Chair
Blake Acton Mabel Neighbors (West Berkeley)

Sheila Islam
Clean Water Action

Ayako Nagano
NorCal Resilience Network

Alex Ghenis
Disability & Climate Advocate

Carlos Zambrano
The Rose Foundation

Marilyn Chilcote
Beacon Presbyterian Fellowship

Rev. Dr. Robert McKenzie
St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley

Rev. Sally Juarez
Berkeley Presbyterian Mission Homes

Margaret Rossoff
No Coal in Oakland

Annie Banks
Anti Police-Terror Project

Cat Brooks
Cat Brooks for Oakland

Kyle Lemle
Lead to Life

David Braun
Rootskepper

Joshua Gorman
Thrive East Bay

Morissa Zuckerman
Sunrise Bay Area

Garrett Blad
SustainUS

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