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City of Lansing Asked to Declare Climate Emergency

League of Women Voters-Lansing Area co-presidents Margo Smith and Donna Mullins proposed that the City of Lansing adopt A Resolution to Declare a Climate Emergency.

In a letter to Councilpersons Dunbar, Garza, and Jackson at the City of Lansing, LWV-LA on behalf of their members states,

"The LWV-LA believes this action to be particularly timely given that the City of Lansing is in the process of drafting its budget for the 2020-21 budget year. Multiple citizens requested this past April and May that the Council amend the budget to provide for a Sustainability Manager position and funding for a Lansing climate action plan. No such action was taken.

"It is also timely given that the Lansing Board of Water and Light (LBWL) is in the process of drafting its Integrated Resource Plan and Strategic Plan that together will be the blueprints for the relative proportions of renewable and fossil energy sources, efficiency measures, and capital expenditures for the next 5, 10, and 20 years. Adopting this resolution will send a message to LBWL as to the necessity of accelerating its efforts to totally migrate to fossil-free energy sources and intensify its implementation of efficiency measures on the part of the City of Lansing as well as its residential, commercial, and industrial customers."

Adopting this resolution will send a message to Lansing Board of Water and Light as to the necessity of accelerating its efforts to totally migrate to fossil free energy sources.

Download the Proposed Resolution

The Resolution listed here in electronic form contains relevant footnotes that do not appear below.


WHEREAS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that climate change from the burning of fossil fuels, cutting down forests and the development of land for farms, cities and roads is increasing global temperatures to the point that it is threatening the continued health, welfare, and productivity of society and the natural environment; and

WHEREAS, the consensus conclusion of scientific and policy assessments from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls for urgent and decisive actions by governments around the world to make "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most disastrous impacts; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment detailed the massive threat that climate change poses to the American economy and underscored the need for emergency climate action at all levels of government; and

WHEREAS, the 2019 Assessment of the Impacts of the Impacts of Climate Change on the Great Lakes highlights the significant impacts in our unique backyard, including, in Lansing and all of Michigan, flooding of streets and homes and agricultural area, power outages, record low and high temperatures, delayed planting, weather-related school and business closures; and

WHEREAS, these economic and environmental hardships disproportionately affect the most vulnerable citizens of Lansing; and

WHEREAS, the national Centers for Disease Control has unequivocally stated that climate change affects health, resulting in untold costs to citizens, especially those with low-incomes; and

WHEREAS, over 1,000 local governments in 18 countries have already signed emergency declarations; including, in Michigan, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo and Washtenaw County; and

WHEREAS, Mayor Schor attended the most recent meeting of the U.S Conference of Mayors where this organization, representing more than 1,400 cities, issued a resolution declaring a climate emergency and calling for de-carbonization in time to keep the global rise in temperatures to a 1.5 degree Celsius level and emphasizing that such efforts must involve local governments and their jurisdictions; and

WHEREAS, in June 2017, Lansing’s former mayor joined hundreds of American mayors in signing a pledge to adopt and uphold the 2016 Paris climate agreement goals in an open letter from the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, a pledge reaffirmed by Mayor Schor in 2018, the goals of said pledge to include: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, increase in investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, creation of a clean energy economy, and development of relationships to address climate change; and

WHEREAS, on June 12, 2017, the Lansing City Council passed its Resolution 2017-146 Affirming Intent to Take Action on Climate Change in Accordance with the Goals of the Paris Agreement; and

WHEREAS, the global, national, and local effects of climate change threaten all 10 of the City of Lansing’s sustainability, livability, place-making and stewardship goals for the future as laid out in the Design Lansing Comprehensive Plan and the Draft Form-Based Code; and

WHEREAS, in response to public demand during the 2019-2020 budget process, the City of Lansing has contracted with Common Logics to establish a greenhouse gas baseline for the City as a first step to develop and integrate a Climate Action Plan into existing city goals and planning processes; and

WHEREAS, the creation of a Sustainability Coordinator position to work on grants and implement a climate action plan is proposed as part of the upcoming 2020-2021 City Budget; and

WHEREAS, leadership and recognition of the climate crisis by the City of Lansing, as the State of Michigan’s capital and the most populous entity and urban core of the region, promotes both local solutions and regional cooperation; and

WHEREAS, a formal Declaration of a Climate Emergency by the City of Lansing is the critical and courageous first step in laying the foundation to address the climate crisis, because a formal declaration will provide the catalyst to mobilize residents, businesses, institutions, faith and community organizations to work together to prioritize the immediate reduction of CO2 emissions and support the City in current efforts to plan for community resilience and adaptation while keeping the concerns of vulnerable populations central to a just transition;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the City of Lansing declares that a climate emergency threatens our citizens, city, region, state, and the natural world; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the intent of this declaration is to both affirm existing commitments and further support City staff in their current efforts to develop a climate action plan that recognizes the climate emergency and accelerates the setting of measurable carbon reduction goals and effective implementation to develop stringent policies on land use, woodland protection and for the phaseout of fossil fuel use, including setting a date commensurate with the Paris Climate Accord by which the city-owned Board of Water and Light must end the use of fossil fuels; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Lansing accepts a role of regional leadership, and as such will seek partnerships with other regional governments, businesses, community groups, educational and other anchor institutions to best utilize regional expertise and resources to meet shared goals; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Lansing will, expeditiously and with serious determination, seek any available state, federal, and private funding for this effort and form alliances with other Michigan cities that have declared a climate emergency or have a written climate action plan to lobby for such funding; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Lansing underscores the need for full community participation, inclusion, and support for the climate mobilization effort; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Lansing commits to keeping the concerns of vulnerable communities central to a just transition and climate mobilization effort planning processes and to inviting and encouraging such communities to actively participate in order to advocate directly for their needs.

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