“If it was truly perceived as an emergency, then I think we would be doing more and talking about it more,” says Asheville City Council member Kim Roney, who was elected in November on a platform that included a local Green New Deal and rapid renewable energy deployment.
Asheville City Council will urge Congress to pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which is aimed at reducing fossil fuel use by imposing a tax that would increase over time. Before the 6-1 vote approving the board’s resolution, with Council member Brian Haynes opposed, members of the public weighed in on whether imposing such a tax is the right step.
“The loss of life and damage caused by current global warming demonstrates that the Earth is already too hot for safety,” states the document approved by a 6-0 vote of Asheville City Council on Jan. 28. “Restoring a safe and stable climate requires an emergency climate mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II.”
After months of haranguing City Council over the wording of a climate emergency resolution, over 40 protesters with Sunrise Movement Asheville occupied the government building on Dec. 6 to demand that Mayor Esther Manheimer and her colleagues pass the document as written by the climate justice group.
“Council had the courage to fight the state over the election process. Let’s hope they find the courage to choose to fight over this life-and-death climate emergency.”
On Nov. 26, Asheville City Council declined to allow tiny home communities in Highway Business zoning districts, saying those areas should be reserved for higher-density, transit-oriented forms of development. Activists with the Sunrise Movement urged Council to pass a climate emergency resolution advanced by the group without changes of any kind. And a group of bear advocates asked the city to help investigate whether local black bears are being caught in illegal snare traps.
Asheville City Council announced that it would consider on a resolution to declare a climate emergency during its upcoming meeting. But representatives from the Sunrise Movement feel that the vote is being pushed through without proper vetting from activists and city staff.
Roughly 75 people, including Asheville City Council member Brian Haynes and Council candidate Shane McCarthy, took part in demanding that local government take stronger action in response to climate change. Extinction Rebellion chose the date of the march to coincide with the time local elections would have been held before they were moved to 2020 through the passage of Senate Bill 813.
“The time to stop pretending is now! The time to implement extreme changes is now! The time to strike is now!”