“We’re basically saying this is an emergency, and we need to treat it like an emergency and take the steps that we need accordingly,” said Council Member Alison Alter, the lead sponsor of the resolution to declare a climate emergency.
The resolution calls on the city manager to audit the budget for any “items that might have a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions” and to oversee the entire process to reach their goals.
Among these goals is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and a tasking of the city manager to, among other things, “consider a range of innovative and aggressive strategies”—such as carbon taxes—in order to meet net-zero emissions.
The city also plans to launch a community awareness campaign with “citizen ambassadors” to “educate, guide, and prepare” citizens regarding how they can reduce their carbon footprint. At the top of the list is mass transit—a measure Austin voters have repeatedly rejected.
“We’ve known in our hearts for so long that we are in a crisis,” said Council Member Greg Casar at a press conference regarding the resolution. “It’s devastating to people’s lives now. You don’t have to look any further than the increased flooding in our community, hurricanes that devastated the coast, the fires that we have experienced and that we will experience.”
The passage of the resolution comes only two months after the city council endorsed the Green New Deal, a proposal by freshman New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which would upend the nation’s economy and energy production and demand a mountain of taxpayer cash to be spent on enormous government handout programs.
While some believers in climate hysteria might find the actions to be too little, too late, the move has sparked criticism from citizens who argue the city should be focused on addressing core issues rather than grandstanding on climate.