June 13, 2018

Berkeley City Council Votes To Move Forward Fossil Free, Climate Emergency Resolutions

Resolutions declare climate emergency, accelerate fossil free climate action ahead of September’s San Francisco-based Global Climate Action Summit

Photo credit: David Solnit

Berkeley, CA —  Last night, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to move forward two groundbreaking resolutions to accelerate the city’s response to the climate crisis: (1) a Fossil Free Resolution to ban the expansion of fossil fuel projects and reach 100% renewable energy by 2030; and (2) a Climate Emergency resolution declaring an existential emergency and calling for a citywide and regional mobilization. The Climate Emergency Resolution passed and will be implemented, and the Fossil Free Resolution will now proceed to the Transportation Commission and Energy Commission.

The Fossil Free resolution sets a goal of 100% renewable energy in the city by 2030. The resolution also calls for a ban on fossil fuel projects which, if passed through committee, would make Berkeley the first municipality in California and the second in the nation to move forward such a sweeping block.

The Climate Emergency resolution calls for the city to declare a Climate Emergency and initiate a just citywide mobilization to enable the rapid elimination and drawdown of greenhouse gases. The resolution also calls for collaboration with civic institutions, businesses, and neighboring city and county governments, including all regional mayors who have signed onto the Paris Agreement, to plan and organize a regional Climate Emergency Town Hall. Berkeley joins Los Angeles, Hoboken, New Jersey, and Montgomery County, Maryland in the nationwide effort to launch an emergency response to the climate crisis.

In 2017, Californians experienced record temperatures and wildfires engulfing entire communities. With the 2018 wildfire and hurricane seasons already unfolding, and the Trump administration obliterating protections at the federal level, it’s up to cities, counties, and states to fill the void of leadership ahead of Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice mobilizations around September’s San Francisco-based Global Climate Action Summit.


“With global temperatures rising and a federal government that seeks to undo years of environmental progress, including a plan to allow drilling off the California coast, the time to protect our environment is now. The City of Berkeley already leads the country in clean energy innovations. This includes expanded bike paths and electric vehicle charging stations and participating in East Bay Community Energy, which will allow residents and businesses to get up to 100% of their power from alternative energy. With innovation and commitment, we will be a fossil fuel-free city,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin

“Berkeley is moving the ball forward in building the fossil free world with 100% renewables for all. The neighborhood I grew up in was scorched by wildfires last year, and the 2018 wildfire season is already starting to unravel. As Trump and his fossil fuel friends treat our communities as expendable, we’ll need bold climate leadership from Berkeley’s elected officials to pass this Fossil Free resolution ahead of the Bay Area-based Global Climate Action Summit this September. Expect to see much more of this in the months to come,” said May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director and Bay Area resident.

“We have already run out of time to prevent significant devastating climate impacts as we saw last year throughout the state of California and globally. The two resolutions Fossil Free Fast, and Climate Emergency Declaration are an acknowledgement of this basic fact: we need to sprint as fast as we can to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels, as a city, state and world.” said Berkeley Councilwoman Kate Harrison, District 4

“The danger of climate change isn’t a future possibility. It’s here, in California, in our lifetime. Steadily rising temperatures have brought intensified wildfires, drought, and storms that have displaced and threatened thousands of people in California, and millions more around the world. We must act now, with a comprehensive, emergency mobilization, to protect current and future generations. The Climate Emergency Declaration and the Fossil Fuel Free council items represent a vital, proactive step to completely address climate change in our community and beyond,” said Berkeley Councilwoman Cheryl Davila, District 2

“350 Bay Area applauds the two climate resolutions taken up by the Berkeley City Council tonight. Declaring Berkeley’s commitment to a more rapid transition from fossil fuels is the kind of leadership we need to protect our health and well-being.  We embrace the UN’s call to limit global temperature increase to 1.5° C to reduce climate chaos, and support the call for a regional climate emergency town hall meeting to address how best to achieve this. We look forward to working with the more than 40 Bay Area cities who have pledged to support these critical UN goals, despite federal climate denial,” Jack Lucero Fleck, 350 Bay Area Steering Committee Member

“By declaring a climate emergency and committing to initiate an emergency mobilization, the  city of Berkeley has just stepped to the forefront of the climate movement. Cities can break the silence, tell the truth, and become advocates for a policy response that meets the massive scale of this crisis.” Margaret Klein Salamon, Executive Director, The Climate Mobilization

“We are experiencing a climate emergency. We support these efforts to address urgent climate issues and strengthen regional ties with other Bay Area communities.  We view the proposed convening as a good opportunity to bring the region together, and support the City’s efforts towards that goal. A fossil fuel free future is really our only option,” Minna Toloui, Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, Climate Action Coordinator

“Its an aggressive program to show us where we have to go on the issue of climate justice and fossil fuels. These issues should be a priority for vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Kudos,” said Carl Anthony, Berkeley Resident, Architect, Urban and Regional Design Strategist and Long-term Climate Justice Advocate.

“Climate change is the greatest public health threat that humankind has ever faced. We have a moral imperative to do whatever it takes to prevent unimaginable suffering and build a more safe, healthy world for everyone,” Janice L. Kirsch, Berkeley Resident, M.D., M.P.H.


The full text of the resolutions are on the City Council Agenda for June 12.  The Fossil Fuel Free resolution is on pages 163-168.  The Emergency Declaration is on pages 581-587.

For more on the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice mobilization, visit: 350.org/rise


Lindsay Meiman, 350.org, lindsay@350.org, +1 (347) 460-9082

Kathy Dervin, 350 Bay Area, dervin.kathy@gmail.com, +1 (510) 693-6105

Juliet Barbara, The Climate Mobilization, juliet.barbara@climatemobilization.org, +1 (512) 750-5677