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Council resolution fast-tracks city's plan by five years to cut carbon emissions

Milwaukie city councilors unanimously adopted a resolution last month to declare a "climate emergency" meant to reinforce their commitment to climate action and highlight city-led actions called for in their climate action plan.

With the passage of the resolution, the city is expediting its climate goals by five years. By 2030, Milwaukie aims to have net-zero emissions from electricity. By 2035 it aims to have net-zero emissions from all buildings, and by 2045 a completely carbon-neutral community.

"Climate chaos is the biggest threat to humanity that we have ever faced — if this isn't an emergency, I'm not sure what would ever rise to that level," said Mayor Mark Gamba. "We now have only 10 years to make extraordinary changes to our society, if we hope to survive."

Efforts are underway to implement the 53 city-led actions found in the climate action plan, adopted in October 2018. The city also is expanding its urban forest program, has achieved 100% carbon-free electricity for city operations through PGE's Green Future Impact, and has incorporated climate action priorities into plans and processes, including Milwaukie's updated comprehensive plan.

Mark GambaBy declaring a climate emergency, Milwaukie's elected officials also will receive more frequent updates and reevaluations of the climate action plan to help ensure city staff are continuously working on the most impactful city-led actions in an efficient manner.

The city also will continue to work closely with its partners, including PGE and Energy Trust of Oregon, to offer programs and incentives that align with Milwaukie's climate goals.

Milwaukie City Council is calling on other jurisdictions to adopt similar resolutions, and to establish or adjust their climate goals to reflect the urgency needed to address the current climate crisis.

"We encourage all cities to join us in leading these efforts. Leadership in climate action is needed from every level of government in order to protect our community members from the impacts of climate change," Gamba said.

Milwaukie officials hope all community members will be inspired by the climate emergency declaration and implement priorities in the climate action plan into their own homes and businesses.

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