Talking Points

Sacramento City asked for collaboration with regional partners to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. We pressured those regional partners and we got the help they wanted:

  • SMUD adopted a Climate Emergency Declaration, July 2020 with a Carbon Zero Goal of 2030

  • Sacramento County Board of Supervisors adopted a Climate Emergency Resolution, December 2020 with a Carbon Neutral Goal of 2030

  • Other communities in California have followed with their own declarations like Yolo County, Chico, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Menlo Park

When the city agrees that there is a climate emergency, but then leaves in loopholes to delay their response until 2045 when it will be too late, it shows they don't really understand what emergency means. Here are just a few of the Worldwide Record-Breaking Climate Events, from 2019-2020:

  • An unprecedented 30 tropical storms, (13 becoming hurricanes), which equaled two and a half times more than the average 12 per season.

  • Flooding events not only exceeded in quantity but in “highest flood water” ever recorded.

  • Tornadoes increased in frequency and quantity.

  • California experienced 376 weeks of continuous drought from 2011 to 2019. We are again in drought conditions through most of the state.

  • The California wildfires season is becoming an all year possibility.

  • Worsening infestations of locusts are decimating crops in East Africa, Southwest Asia and the Middle East.

  • We are experiencing climate refugees/migrants by the millions. Our world has lost 2 million lives to the covid 19 pandemic.

  • According to the NY Times, January 7, 2021 article, by Christopher Flavelle, "US Disaster Cost Doubled in 2020, Reflecting Costs of Climate Change," outlined 2020 costs of over $95 billion: $43 billion due to hurricanes, $40 billion caused by convective storms, (tornadoes, hail, thunder storms, and derechos), and $16 billion caused by wildfires. Wildfire damage has expanded beyond California north into Oregon and Washington. Oregon lost 4,000 homes last year.

 

Climate Science Says: the potential devastation is extreme, so this emergency requires extreme solutions

  • The newest projection, January 2021, (McGill University), finds that we will likely cross thresholds for dangerous warming of +1.5deg C between 2027 and 2042 This means that earth's atmosphere will become “hothouse” like.

  • May 2020 (Columbia University's Earth Institute) “wet-bulb” effect is when the body passes a “survivability threshold”. Extreme humidity and heat prevent the skin from being able to cool off by sweating, causing the body to overheat, potentially fatally. Consider a perfectly fit person, sitting in the shade, not moving at all, endless supply of water, either unclothed or wearing perfect clothes for sweating, would not, thermodynamically, be able to sweat fast enough to avoid overheating and getting heat stroke. “Wet-bulb” temperature events have doubled between 1979 and 2017 and if climate pollution continues at current rates, and unless mass migration becomes the norm, it is predicted that a third of the human population will find itself living in Sahara-like conditions by 2070.

 

The GOOD NEWS:

  • The silver lining we all witnessed through the devastation of the Covid 19 pandemic is that given the opportunity, due to the almost immediate decline in travel, our planet has the ability to heal! 

  • Air quality rapidly improved as was shown by NASA’s Earth Observatory in addition to cleaner waters in the Venice canal system. (fn#3)

  • According to Intracity Migration Index (IMI) resulting from China's lockdown of 44 cities between January 1 and March 21, 2020, the air quality index (AQI) pollution decreased by 7.8%. (fn#4)

 

Earth’s ecosystems are showing resilience for now but, for how long? At what point does it become too late?

 

Conclusion and Action to be taken:

  • Sacramento City must get onboard with climate mitigation planning and actions by joining our neighbors and regional partners in updating their goal of becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030. 2045 is too late!

  • Email your message to the Mayor and Council.

  • Make public comments at Council meetings.

  • Thank you for being a climate hero!

Background

In November, 2018, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon formed “The Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change,” setting a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. In the fall of 2018 we also saw the horrific Paradise fire, and experienced the worst air quality in the world for more than a week. The IPCC’s xxx report also declared that the Paris Accords climate targets were not ambitious enough and that if we do not eliminate fossil fuels emissions by 2030 we face a significant risk of going into irreversible runaway climate change. (fn#1)

 

The Sacramento Climate Coalition (SCC) launched its Climate Emergency Declaration campaign in 2018, joining hundreds of communities around the world pushing for governments at all levels to do all they can to reach carbon zero by 2030. In mid 2019, after grassroots input and building the coalition to more than 20 groups, we presented the cities with a draft Climate Emergency Declaration which called for a carbon neutral goal of 2030. As the cities listened and deliberated, protests and climate strikes continued, organized by SCC in cooperation with Fridays For Future youth, and other partners.  The City Council concluded that the 2030 goal would only be attainable with help from regional partners. Unfortunately climate changes continued to worsen and the day the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Climate Emergency Declaration, 12/10/19, also became historic as the boreal forest fires activated the 9th climate tipping point as predicted by climate scientists. (fn#2)

 

The fact of the matter is, we are in the midst of a CLIMATE EMERGENCY and as such all actions require urgency if we are going to be able to mitigate this threat and preserve a habitable environment for future generations.