The context, opportunity, and need around local climate action is changing. But is local climate planning keeping up? Farallon Strategies staff collaborated with a group of practitioners, convened by City Scale, to answer this question.
The State of U.S. Local Climate Action Planning is a collective statement based on the reflections of a group of climate practitioners that worked, over a series of conversations in 2019, to identify the state of local climate action planning, and how the field can improve to meet aggressive GHG reduction targets while providing community benefit. We found that local climate action planning had reached an inflection point, and progress has become stagnant. In order to achieve the rapid transformational GHG reductions needed, the field must identify lessons learned from the last decade and move beyond traditional climate action planning processes to prioritizing implementation.The work ahead does not live with a single organization or small group of people: we hope these observations support reflection, spark dialogue, and fuel an appetite to work in new direction with new partners.
This statement was drafted in fall 2019—prior to the emergence of COVID-19, prior to the renewed reckoning with structural racism following the murder of George Floyd, prior to the deeply unequal economic impacts of the pandemic, and prior to the 2020 elections and their aftermath that laid bare the fragility of democratic norms. Personal and community priorities have shifted, a new federal administration is vigorously linking climate change with economic justice, municipal and state budgets are upended, and the global geopolitical order is evolving rapidly.
This is a moment to re-assess, consider where we have been as local climate practitioners, what we have learned, and how we might proceed in the new circumstances ahead. Over the last 18 months, we have heard increasing awareness and discussion around many of the observations outlined in our statement, but even with how much our world has changed in the past 18 months nearly all of our observations remain relevant.
"The local climate action movement has plateaued...We believe that the next generation of local climate action must be a collective effort, centered around people and values, and focused on opportunities for dramatic systems change." - The State of U.S. Local Climate Action Planning
In the spirit of collective learning, we share this statement as an expression of the state of the local government climate field in 2019, acknowledging that 2020 brought its own set of unique challenges that will further influence the climate action field moving forward.
Thank you to City Scale for convening this group of thoughtful and collaborative climate professionals, to the contributors below, and to the vast number of perspectives we brought in through engagement of our networks on this issue since 2019.
Contributors to this statement include:
Farallon Strategies is thankful to have attended Greenlining's 28th Annual Economic Summit focused on Meeting the Moment and #Momentum21 to support the work of the California Resilience Partnership. We will continue to bring these important concepts in our work in creating transformational change and advancing equity in work on climate and resilience.
We need to Decarbonize, Democratize, and Decolonize our energy system. -Antonio Diaz
The status quo had nothing going for it, but still some people feel the status quo is all they have. -Angela Glover Blackwell
We should never go back to the status quo that existed before we began to build the new world. -Angela Glover Blackwell
We just want healthy places to live in, good jobs, and respect and dignity. The status quo makes those things look radical. - Michael Tubbs
What's radical is the notion that white supremacy is a false ideology. - Michael Tubbs
We must move through allyship to ownership. - Angela Glover Blackwell
Transformative solidarity is the creation of a beloved community. - Michael Tubbs
We need rapid and radical decarbonization to meet the challenge of climate change. But decarbonization at all cost is problematic without putting justice at the center.
Networks and collaboration are essential for trust. Without trust, you don't get community participation or buy-in to the technologies that need to be widely adopted.
The real urgency of the climate crisis needs to be in achieving justice.
Building resilience is building community power.
Thank you @Greenlining for inspiring us to imagine communities we want to build together and @CitiesCatalyst and @HiltonFound for the support to attend and participate in this critical discussion. #FaraStrat @farastrat @mmccormickcc