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    Oakland Legislation Would Combat Climate Change, Promote Equitable Economy

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    In California, this year alone, a total of 6,568 fires burned an area of 1,502,293 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Interagency Fire Center. Experts have said that rising temperatures linked to global warming are making the fires more extreme—larger, more dangerous and more expensive to fight. These fires have had a devastating impact on California residents, our economy and society at large. People have lost their lives, homes and livelihoods, and many will be rebuilding for years to come.

    As a society, we must take measures to help stop and repair the damage done to our environment, to safeguard our home for future generations. In Oakland, I am partnering with environmental organizations to introduce legislation declaring a climate emergency and requesting regional collaboration on an emergency mobilization effort to restore a safe climate. Similar laws have been passed in neighboring jurisdictions, and speak to the need to implement measures to protect all people and species from the consequences of abrupt climate change.

    Our Resolution calls on the City of Oakland to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible towards zero net emissions, immediately initiate an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere, and accelerate adaptation and resilience strategies in preparation for intensifying climate impacts.

    Now more than ever, we as leaders and civic participants must understand the importance of environmental health, and evaluate whether the decisions we make today will benefit future generations. In this time of ecological crisis, let us learn from the mistakes of our past, so that our children may breathe fresh air, drink clean water and participate in an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just.

    Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). Follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland ( ) and Facebook
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