Middletown’s Sustainability Team and Clean Energy Task Force have proposed a resolution to Mayor Florsheim and to the Common Council, declaring a climate emergency and resolving to take local action to reduce carbon emissions and to pressure state and federal leaders to face this crisis.
To illustrate the magnitude of the climate crisis, consider this. For the past 800,000 years, the concentration of atmospheric CO2 varied between 180 and 280 parts per million (ppm) as the earth’s climate fluctuated between ice ages and warm spells. In the last 170 years, since 1850, when the industrial revolution accelerated the burning of fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 has increased from 280 to over 410 ppm. Is that serious? The last time the earth’s atmosphere had 410 ppm was in the Pliocene era, approximately 4 million years ago. In the Pliocene, sea level varied 10-25 meters higher than at present, and the coastline of Virginia was 90 miles inland from its present location. (See photo.) If we stay at 410 ppm, eventually the delayed warming will catch up to the CO2 level and the eastern seaboard of the United States will be completely underwater. (Green dots show location of shoreline in the Pliocene era.)
To avoid the worst climate catastrophe, we need to look beyond the pandemic and the November elections that are consuming the public’s attention. Since state and federal governments have proved themselves incapable of an adequate response, action needs to come from the grassroots and local governments. To register your support of local climate action, sign the petition which will be forwarded to city officials. You will be informed when further support for climate action is needed.
Petition Text: "In light of our national government's failure to address climate change adequately, I support the City of Middletown's Declaration of a Climate Emergency, directing our city government--both elected officials and municipal departments--to lead our community in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to advocate for urgent climate action at the state, federal, and international levels."
Sign The Petition on the Jonah Center website here.