Ferndale Declares Climate Crisis, Takes Path of Assessment and Action

Ferndale Declares Climate Crisis, Takes Path of Assessment and Action

(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 19, 2020)

Ferndale, MI – “Even though we’re four square miles, what we do as a community…is going to contribute to the overall global effort, and we need to do our part,” said Ferndale Mayor Melanie Piana as she made the case for the adoption of a Climate Crisis declaration at the July 13, 2020 city council meeting.

The three-page resolution gave context about the problem of climate change, and it outlined steps the city must take to become more environmentally friendly.  “The resolution is really about intentionality,” said Mayor Piana.  “I’m interested in taking our city carbon-neutral.”  Among the provisions of the resolution is a green house gas inventory, which will give the City  starting-point data so they can “get baselines and set targets.”

Being carbon-neutral would mean “having achieved a state in which the net amount of carbon dioxide or other carbon compounds emitted into the atmosphere is reduced to zero because it is balanced by actions to reduce or offset these emissions.”

The resolution also calls for the City to “implement at least two economically viable renewable energy or energy efficiency projects, policies, and practices annually now until 2030,” as well as to “aggressively seek any available state, federal, philanthropic, and private funding for this effort and form alliances with other Michigan cities and organizations that have declared climate emergencies and climate crises.”

According to the 2015 Michigan Climate and Health Profile Report, “Based on current trends and projections of the most recent period for which information is available, 2021 – 2050, the most likely impacts from climate change in Michigan are extreme heat events, defined as prolonged periods of increased temperatures and humidity; changes in precipitation patterns, including excess rain leading to flooding; and extreme weather such as heavy snow and freezing rain. For Michigan, five priority climate-related health outcomes have been identified: respiratory diseases, heat related illnesses, waterborne diseases, vector-borne diseases, and injuries, specifically carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.  The report was among the documents reviewed by Council before making their decision.

Around the world, cities have taken proactive steps to fight climate change, including the use of LED lights, electric vehicles, increased public transit to reduce vehicle usage, recycling, planting trees, and seeking alternative energy sources.  Ferndale’s next step is the greenhouse gas inventory to show where Ferndale is in terms of pollution. Then goals will be set to reduce that amount.

Ferndale is part of the national organization Climate Mayors, as well as the International Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. “Both organizations help cities reduce CO2 emissions, increase their resilience to climate change, ensure access to sustainable, secure, and affordable energy to all,” she said.

Piana said Ferndale is likely the first city in Oakland County to declare a climate crisis.

Check out the full resolution at City of Ferndale website.

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