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The public attends the Athens City Council meeting in Athens City Hall on Monday, February 3, 2020.

City Council: Climate emergency declared; city committed to cutting down carbon emissions

City Council adopted a resolution Monday declaring a climate emergency and committing to a city-wide effort to restore a safe climate.

The resolution will initiate an effort to draw down carbon from the atmosphere and cut down carbon emissions. Councilwoman Chris Fahl, D-4th Ward, explained the purpose of introducing resolutions like this one.

“‘Why do we do resolutions?’ People ask. (It’s) because we have a voice as City Council … being able to amplify our citizens’ voice … that’s one reason we do these types of resolutions,” Fahl said. “Another reason is to get people to understand what we want and how we are going to go forward.”

The resolution included information from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty that reports on the large amount of people that could be affected by a 1.5 degree Celsius increase in the global temperature, in which 36 million people would experience food insecurity because of lower crop yield and 4.5 billion people would experience heat waves, among other consequences.

Fahl said that one way to draw down carbon from the atmosphere is by planting trees. She also said as climate change has become such a pertinent issue, it was important for council to pass this resolution.

“This sounds very aggressive, and it is… because we need to be, this is an emergency,” Fahl said.

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson expressed his support for the resolution because it would help create a better future for younger generations.

“I look at my 8-year-old twin daughters and I certainly want to leave a better city for them than the one I received 20 years ago,” Patterson said

Athens is the first city in the state to introduce a resolution declaring a climate emergency, Councilwoman Beth Clodfelter, D-At Large, said.

Councilman Sam Crowl, D-3rd Ward, said Athens and Ohio University should work together in order to create more progress toward reversing global warming.


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