File photo REUTERS/Scott Morgan

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz announced the start of a new environmental initiative Wednesday aimed at achieving a carbon neutral city by 2025.

Koretz said the Climate Justice Mobilization Working Group would be formed at City Hall to partner with the national Climate Mobilization group and try to reach the goals outlined in Canada’s LEAP Manifesto.

Koretz made the announcement with journalist and author, Naomi Klein, and Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris during a news conference at City Hall.

“Los Angeles took on the needs of the entire United States and much of the world during World War II by embracing wartime mobilization,” Koretz said.

“Hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles residents not only contributed massively to aircraft and ship manufacturing, they also volunteered to aid the Red Cross by the tens of thousands. I’m calling on all Angelenos to mobilize once again. We need a World War II-scale mobilization in order to keep our city safe and our planet habitable and resilient.”

The LEAP Manifesto was authored by 60 environmental leaders in Canada in 2015, including Klein, and is a political manifesto which called for the end of using fossil fuels for energy. More than 46,000 people have signed the manifesto.

Koretz did not offer any information on how the city could become carbon neutral or end the use of fossil fuels as the LEAP Manifesto calls for.

“If the city of Los Angeles listens to the voices of communities on the frontlines, and centers racial and economic justice in the way it addresses climate change, this could be an historic leap, with ripples around the world,” said Klein, a best-selling author of books on capitalism and climate change, a correspondent for The Intercept and a syndicated columnist.

Koretz, a liberal Democrat, also appeared with Parris, a Republican, and praised him for the city’s environmental initiatives while joking, “We have the wrong Republican in the White House right now.”

Lancaster’s environmental efforts include an expansion of the city’s solar energy infrastructure and the addition of electric buses.

“Local municipal leadership is paramount to addressing the many issues we are discussing here today. And, the city of  Lancaster is paving the way,” Parris said.

“We have become a global leader in the alternative energy arena, and are now leading the way for other municipalities which seek to take charge of climate change concerns within their own communities.”

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, has called for massive budget cuts in scientific research and environmental programs that protect air and water, signed an order that seeks to expand off-shore drilling, ordered a review of protected national monuments, dismissed several Environmental Protection Agency advisors, and scrubbed the EPA’s climate-change website, among other things.

–City News Service and staff

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