Climate emergency movement news in overview

Climate emergency declarations in 558 councils cover 65 million citizens

Populations covered by local governments that have declared a climate emergency: 65 million citizens in 13 countries, with 29 million of these living in the United Kingdom, meaning more than 40 per cent of the UK population…
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Video recordings of climate emergency speeches in chambers and halls

Climate emergency speeches by Councillors – Canada: Legislative Assembly of Ontario Ian Arthur delivers a passionate and emotional speech advocating for the declaration of a climate emergency. 5 minutes. 15 May 2019 – Canada: Cowichan Valley Council: Sonia Furstenau, Member of the Legislative Assembly…
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Discussions about the concept of declaring a climate emergency

Discussion in Hobart Council → ABC News – 21 May 2019: Hobart Council row erupts as members stage a meeting walkout against climate change motion “A row has erupted inside the walls of Hobart City Council over a motion to recognise climate change as a global emergency.” …
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New Zealand: Two regional councils declare a climate emergency

On 16 May 2019, two regional councils in New Zealand made history by declaring a climate emergency as the first councils in the country, vowing to put climate change at the forefront of decision making. “At 11:49am on Thursday, Environment Canterbury councillors voted and made history, …
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Australian Capital Territory declares a climate emergency

“As the first Australian state or territory to declare a climate emergency, we’re setting the standard for climate action across Australia, and the world,” tweeted Shane Rattenbury, ACT Greens Leader and Minister for Climate Change in the Australian Capital Territory. On 16 May 2019 he moved a motion…
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Region of Catalonia in Spain declares a climate emergency

On 15 May 2019, the Catalan government declared a climate emergency. Catalonia is a region comprising about 7.5 million people, who…
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Australia: Greenpeace action on Sydney bridge to call for climate emergency declaration

On 14 May 2019, Greenpeace supporters climbed the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia, to demand that Prime Minister Scott Morrison declares a climate emergency. The action was streamed live on Facebook and Youtube just like a full news tv coverage with cameras on location, prerecorded interviews and commentators in the studio…
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Climate emergency in the mainstream: clippings

Clippings from the climate emergency news and social media streams in May 2019 – Greta Thunberg tweeted: “Over 500 regional councils around the world have declared climate emergency. As well as 2 nations. Who’s next? #ClimateBreakdown #EcologicalBreakdown” …
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Switzerland: Climate emergency declarations critisised for being political rhetoric

In Switzerland, politicians and media commentators are discussing whether the climate emergency declarations and resolutions that have been declared in eight of the country’s cities and municipalities will lead to action at an entirely new level or eventually be overlooked as fluffy, non-binding policy statements …
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Ireland declares a climate emergency

“Its official. Ireland becomes 2nd country in the world to declare a #ClimateEmergency & Dáil also agreed to endorse all the recommendations of the Oireachtas Climate Action Report .Definitely one of the highlights for me as a @greenparty_ie TD. My children are thrilled.” By making an amendment…
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Media coverage in May 2019

Examples of news stories and articles

→ Al Jazeera – 25 May 2019:
School students strike worldwide, demand action on climate change
“Thunberg – who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize – is urging governments to declare a climate emergency as has happened in Britain, Scotland and Ireland, a call echoed by many on European strikes.”

→ CBC – 21 May 2019:
Old Crow, Yukon, declares climate change state of emergency
“Officials in the Yukon’s most northern community have declared a state of emergency, saying the traditional way of life in Old Crow is under threat from climate change.”

→ Sky TG24 – 20 May 2019:
Environment climate emergency motion approved in Milan (article in Italian language)
“The Milan City Council approved the motion on the “climate and environmental emergency declaration” in the city. The document was presented by the councillor of the Democratic Party Carlo Monguzzi, and was approved with 31 votes in favour.”

→ Refresher – 22 May 2019:
Prague 7 declared a state of climatic emergency (Article in Polish language)
“The City of Prague 7th District joins the call for climate protection.”

→ The Herald – 17 May 2019:
Glasgow City Council declares climate emergency
“Glasgow City Council has become the third council in Scotland to declare a climate emergency. Councillors debated the work done by young Scottish campaigners and highlighted the need for the Climate Challenge Fund before declaring the emergency on Thursday.” 

→ Focus Taiwan News Channel – 22 May 2019:
Civic groups to ask government to declare ‘climate emergency’
“Over 30 civic groups will take to the streets of Taipei on Friday calling on the government to declare a “climate emergency” in response to increasingly serious climate change.”

→ Government News – 27 May 2019:
Cities at the forefront of ‘climate emergency’
“Local governments across Australia are taking a stand against what they say is federal climate inaction on the back of worldwide initiatives like Morocco’s famous ‘blue city’.”

→ The Age – 25 May 2019:
The environment: Establish a bipartisan ‘war cabinet’ on climate change
“With a climate emergency declared in the United Kingdom and the extinction of species, including pollinating insects which are essential to our food supply, occurring at a faster rate than ever before, it is time to look at emergency measures.”

→ The Age – 24 May 2019:
‘We’re worried the planet is dying’: Thousands of climate protesters bring CBD to standstill
“The protesters want the federal government to declare a climate and ecological emergency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.”

→ The Guardian – 16 May 2019:
Federal election 2019: Bill Shorten says Labor will take climate ’emergency’ seriously – as it happened
“Bill Shorten declares climate ’emergency’. There is a use of a very particular word in this part of the speech. And it is very deliberate.”

→ Newcastle Herald – 16 May 2019:
Shorten vows to tackle climate ’emergency’
“Labor leader Bill Shorten has toughened his stance on climate change, labelling it an emergency he vows he will prioritise if he becomes prime minister on Saturday.”

→ The Advertiser – 14 May 2019:
PM on Adani spat with CSIRO – the climate emergency – and the Harbour Bridge protest (video)
“The Prime Minister Scott Morrison answers questions on the Adani coal mine approval.”

→ The Guardian – 9 May 2019:
Peter Garrett urges Bill Shorten to declare climate emergency if Labor wins
“Exclusive: Former environment minister calls for creation of ‘war’ cabinet committee to plot transition to zero carbon.”

“Surely what is required by the Earth that feeds us and so many other amazing creatures is a war-type, non-affiliated “cabinet”. It would include representatives from all sides of politics and be directed by non-politically aligned experts. (Any pecuniary interests would need to be declared.)

Structurally this could include an environmental wing of our armed forces (for example, the navy helping to clear plastics from our oceans and sewerage and chemical run-off which is destroying our Great Barrier Reef). It could provide school leavers with an interesting, voluntary, “national service” gap year of employment, and perhaps work and skills development for the unemployed.

Through the United Nations, we could suggest a co-operative approach between nations that could enhance eco-tourism and a sharing of innovative solutions.”
~ Steven Sommer, Highton

“This isn’t something we can wait for someone else to fix. We all need to act now. We can be leaders for change. Think globally, act locally.”
~ Ben Andrews – in a Facebook comment

Podcast with Alex Marshall: Proper and immediate action on the climate emergency

This page is an excerpt from – with permission.

Guest in The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse on 20 March 2019 was 19-year-old Alex Marshall from CACE Surf Coast & Geelong who’s calling for proper council action on the climate emergency, and leading the charge on the Surf Coast to follow the lead of over 400 other councils around the world that have declared a climate emergency – five of those in Victoria, 15 in Australia.

The Sustainable Hour team also talks over the phone with the officer at Darebin City Council whose job it is to get the practical stuff of a climate emergency sorted and making the Council’s decisions work for the community and the officers: Samantha Green from the municipality’s Environmental Education & Promotions Office.

They visit Maribyrnong Councillor Simon Crawford in the fifth Victorian council to declare a climate emergency. And we visit Darebin Councillor Trent McCarthy who has been a strong supporter of Darebins climate emergency initiatives since his climate emergency motion – the first of its kind in the world – was carried in 2016.

“There is support for declaring a climate emergency, taking action. It is seen as serious and urgent by a majority of people.”
~ Common Cause Australia, network agency

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 259 on 94.7 The Pulse:

» To open or download this programme in mp3-format, right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)



RenewEconomy – 8 March 2019:
Poll finds strong majority support for declaring a climate emergency

Sign petition

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“The world is facing a climate emergency. Our country is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Government action and policy matters. Labor is not just ready to take action here; we are impatient to take action. We know that this is in the national interest, that this is in our children’s interest, and that this is in our grandchildren’s interest.”
Mark Butler, in a speech on 4 December 2018


Feature forum at the National Sustainable Living Fesival in Melbourne in February 2019 with some of the remarkable councillors who are at the forefront of the world’s first climate emergency mobilisation effort, acting locally and spreading globally.

“City governments around the world are on the move. In the space of just 12 months, a growing number of city councils are showing extraordinary leadership as the climate crisis escalates. Now spreading into an international movement that started in Australia, city councils are stepping forward as the first level of government to declare a climate emergency. In this extraordinary development, government officials are facing up to the true level of climate risk and are stridently developing climate emergency mobilisation plans and advocating to protect their citizens.”

Cheryl Davila – Berkeley (USA)
Eduardo Martinez – Richmond (USA)
Chris Krohn – Santa Cruz (USA)
Doina Cornell – Stroud (UK)
Carla Denyer – Bristol (UK)
Kim Le Cerf – Darebin (AUS)
Natalie Abboud – Moreland (AUS)
Belinda Coates – Ballarat (AUS)
Hosted by: Gay Alcorn, Melbourne Editor Guardian Australia

Impassioned request made City of Powell River declare a climate emergency

“We are the leaders of this community and everybody is looking at us to make a difference. I just can’t sit by anymore and do these piddly things that we’re doing. We know it’s going to be expensive; we know it’s going to take staff time to build these into our financial plans but we have to start putting money into reserves. We have to make plans so at the very least if we can do this we’re taking a step forward and we’re telling the community that this is an urgent matter and we are getting in front of it as best we can at this late date.”

~ Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman, City of Powell River

City of Powell River councillor CaroleAnn Leishman said she is losing sleep over climate change. At one point during her impassioned argument on the subject at the regular council meeting on 21 February 2019, she broke into tears over her desperation.

She requested that within 90 days, city staff prepare a report outlining the greatest threats to the city, both corporate and community, with respect to climate change impacts.

It includes: estimated sea level rise, wildfire threats, increased flooding events, potential contamination of the watershed and other immediate perceived threats; beginning discussions between the city, regional district and Tla’amin Nation for establishing an advisory committee for disaster and emergency response planning with the regional manager of emergency services taking the lead; establishing “Climate Action Plan 2020 and Beyond” for a carbon-neutral City of Powell River; beginning to track financial implications of climate change impacts not only in city asset management plans but in all city departments; and becoming carbon neutral in the city’s corporate operations from 2019 and beyond.

» Powell River Peak – 6 March 2019:
City of Powell River councillor makes impassioned call to address climate change
“Council decides on its definition for ‘emergency’ plan”

Alex Marshall’s climate emergency speech

Listen here:

In other news

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Wave of councils declare a climate emergency

Two years ago there was one: Darebin City Council. Then there were eight. Then forty… Today, Council climate emergency declarations are being replicated around the world: Close to 300 councils have taken it on board on behalf of their 20 million residents.


“Many argue we need a Churchill to lead us, that only a strong leader can take charge in a crisis and show us the way forward. Or maybe we need a climate “Pearl Harbour” – a major single event. This is not how systems usually change, but especially not in a globalised and connected world. Yes, we need leadership and across all sections of society. But the “Churchills” emerge from a context and the context shift we need is to accept we have a crisis. Critically, this acceptance is a distributed social phenomenon, not a technical question of science or evidence. This brings me back to Darebin in Melbourne…”
~ Paul Gilding, 11 September 2018

Ballarat City Council acknowledges the climate emergency

On 21 November 2018, the Ballarat City Council passed a Notice of Motion from Councillor Belinda Coates noting the IPCC report and acknowledging the climate emergency.

Five local residents came to speak in support of the motion, including Miriam (left on the photo above) and Anna (middle) – a student who is organising a school strike at Trades Hall in Camp Street in Ballarat on 30 November 2018. Belinda Coates (right), member of the Greens, moved the motion.

Councillors pointed out that they already have plans in place for council operations to go carbon neutral by 2025. Others remarked that there was more that could be done with local planning laws, transport plans and the like.

Five voted in favour, two against.

That Council

1. Notes the recent October 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change.

2. Notes the successful motion to the Municipal Association Victoria (MAV) May 2017 to recognise that we are in a state of ‘climate emergency’ that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including local councils.

3. Acknowledges the ‘climate emergency’ and the need for urgent action by all levels of government, including local councils.

4. Acknowledge the need for priority resourcing of the carbon neutral and 100% renewables action plan and prioritisation of initiatives that move us towards carbon neutrality and 100% renewables.

5. Councillors receive a briefing from officers on how to best act on this ‘climate emergency’ acknowledgment and ensure that this is embedded into the ‘carbon neutrality and 100% renewables action plan’, council plan review and future strategies.

MOVED: Cr Coates, SECONDED: Cr Moloney
FOR: Coates, Moloney, Harris, Hudson, McIntosh
AGAINST: Taylor, Tillett


» Ballarat City Council – 21 November 2018:
Ordinary Council Meeting Agenda with attachments (PDF, 300 pages)

On 3 October 2018, City of Ballarat Council voted unanimously to become a member of Cities Power Partnership as part of ramping up its local climate action, moving towards renewables and becoming a carbon neutral city.

The Council committed early last year to strive towards a target to aim for carbon neutrality and 100% renewables by 2025.

The municipality has solar hot water systems for around 20 facilities and solar panels on the rooftops of 10 major buildings.

The Cities Power Partnership is a free national program that brings together Australian cities making the switch towards clean energy.


Related news

» Climate Emergency Declaration – 13 November 2018:
United Kingdom: Bristol City Council declares a climate emergency

Social media news

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Councils switching to emergency mode

Get involved by taking action with our local Geelong Council

Our campaign is called CACE – Community Action in the Climate Emergency – and has already got four Australian Councils to declare a climate emergency and start to move into emergency mode and with six local governments in America now follow our lead including Los Angeles City.

Why emergency?
Well, we are in one. Current levels of greenhouse gases will cause an environmental and human catastrophe, and we need to act now while we still can.

So why councils?
With most state and federal government captured by fossil fuel interests or too weak to act Bryony and Adrian chose to focus on getting local governments to lead where state and federal government and most environmental NGO’s are failing us.

With enough councils in emergency mode, this will force state and federal governments to follow suit.

This is how small groups of people can start a process of changing the world by taking action with their local council.

» Join us on

» Read more about CACE on