Oakland Unanimously Adopts Climate Protection Targets
At last night's meeting, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to
adopt benchmark targets to cut the city's global warming pollution --
an important first political step in the much larger effort that will
Spearheading the campaign, the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, in
conjunction with the Oakland Public Works Agency's Environmental
Services Division, recommended a 36 percent reduction below 2005 levels
by 2020 and an 83 percent reduction by 2050.
These goals, which after last night's vote are now the official target
levels of the city, are on par with the nation's leading cities, and
locally a bit more aggressive, said Ian Kim from the Ella Baker Center
for Human Rights, one of the major partners in the Oakland Climate
"It is in keeping with the new science that shows that the estimates of last year are a little outdated," Kim added.
Kim said that the Coalition was initially concerned that one or two
members may not have been on board to vote for the targets, but after
the Coalition met with council members prior to the meeting, Kim said
that they were fairly confident the targets would pass.
The effort, moving forward from here, will be a long, difficult
process, Kim said: "We need to make big changes in ways that are
socially equitable." A challenge in Oakland, he said, is the struggle
to support environmental efforts while simultaneously "protecting
Oakland's most vulnerable neighborhoods." Specifically, he said the
efforts of the coalition must involve advocacy for higher density in
the city with more affordable housing.
The two major challenges in the long haul, Kim said, are first
"reaching a tipping point amongst Oakland residents" so that the
knowledge of climate issues reach all of the city's communities, and
then changing the way people go about their day to day business. Kim
said, "How much are we willing to change the way we live? We can't look
for the easy way out."