The Los Angeles City Council Friday advanced a proposal to create a Climate Emergency Mobilization Department to oversee efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions citywide.
The motion, with was approved on a 13-0 vote, directs city staff to draft a report on the establishment of the department, including what authority it would have over other city departments, and the feasibility of creating a stakeholder commission that would oversee it.
The motion seeking the establishment of the department was introduced in January by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Bob Blumenfield.
“We’re out of time,” Koretz said. “We can’t keep waiting around thinking, once it gets bad enough, we’ll have enough time to do something. We’re here today to tell you, it’s bad enough now. We are out of time and need to act, quickly and boldly, like the very planet beneath our feet depends upon it. Like our home depends upon it. Because it does.”
The motion was introduced following a series of devastating wildfires which broke out in December in the San Fernando Valley and the Sepulveda Pass.
“Over the past few months, we have seen some of the most vicious fires in our city’s history rip through our communities, testing the limits of our emergency management capabilities,” Blumenfield said. “The sad reality is that due to climate change, as well as a deliberate lack of environmental leadership out of Washington, D.C., it is up to us to lead and ensure that we are doing everything possible to reduce our carbon footprint and clean our environment. I am proud to stand with Councilmember Koretz and many environmental organizations in continuing to steer Los Angeles toward being the greenest and cleanest city in the nation.”
Koretz said the effort builds on the Mobilize L.A. campaign that he, the advocacy group The Leap, author Naomi Klein and other environmental activists started in June that aims to transition the city to carbon-neutrality by 2025 through a mobilization on the scale of World War II.
“We appreciate that Councilmembers Koretz and Blumenfield recognize that there is a powerful racial dimension to our climate crisis,” Klein said. “Communities of color clearly suffer the greatest burdens from the fossil fuel infrastructure. Those communities should have the first priority in receiving the environmental, health, and economic benefits of the clean energy infrastructure and in preparing for future climate impacts.”