How to declare a climate emergency

A new toolkit from the Global Covenant of Mayor for Climate and Energy (GCoM) and partners shared with cities in the run up to the Global Climate Action Summit this week in New York continues to drive momentum on the climate emergency movement.

Why declare a climate emergency?

Climate science, as well as increasing incidences of natural disasters around the world, demonstrate that climate change threatens devastating impacts for the whole of human civilization. From droughts and wildfires to rising sea levels and climate refugees, the potential cost of a slow, gradual approach to climate change cannot be overstated.

According to the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, we have until 2030 to limit a climate change catastrophe. This study shows that to exceed 1.5C would mean putting the very livability of our planet in jeopardy. We are living in a climate crisis, which requires an emergency response.

Spearheading local action

Back in 2016, the City of Darebin spearheaded the process of climate emergency declarations for local governments as the first jurisdiction to declare an emergency in response to increasing citizen concerns.

The Darebin Climate Emergency Declaration has served as an inspiration and a resource for other local government over the past few years. Darebin City Council shared their journey to climate emergency through a framework and resource for Effective Local Government Climate Emergency Response that set out five key processes that local and regional governments can undertake, from leadership to advocacy.

Communities around the world are taking to the streets, led by youth activists demanding increased urgent action. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old activist who inspired this global movement along with youth activists from around the world, is calling for the declaration of a global climate emergency. In response to this growing urgency, local and regional governments around the world are stepping up to do their part.

To date, over 1000 jurisdictions including various ICLEI Members from 19 countries around the world, have declared a climate emergency. The new climate emergency toolkit for cities from GCoM provides even more tangible guidance and tools to kick-start the process in cities, towns and regions worldwide.

Download the toolkit here.

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