Climate Change

Why this California town has declared ‘climate emergency’

Calls upon its residents to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 08 April 2019
Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr Photo: Flickr

A town in the United States (US) state of California has declared a ‘climate emergency that threatens the residents’ lives and well-being’ in the aftermath of a wildfire that stopped just at the town’s edge a few months back.

The council members of Chico, in Butte County, located in the famous Central Valley just north of state capital Sacremento voted on April 2, 2019, that there was a climate emergency and called on the city’s residents to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The reason being cited to be behind the declaration is the devastating wildfire that struck the town’s surrounding areas in November, 2018. On November 8, 2018, the so-called ‘Camp Fire’ started in the towns of Paradise and Magalia near Chico.

Over the next week, the fire destroyed 14,000 homes in Butte County and killed 85 people, mostly elderly and disabled. Members of the 14,000 households who lost their homes fled to Chico, where they have tried to rebuild their lives.

Due to the devastating fires that California has faced in recent years, Chico residents now want their leaders to take a more proactive approach towards climate-related disasters.

The climate emergency declaration was drafted last month by members of Chico 350, the local chapter of the American climate advocacy group, It was taken up at the council meeting by Councilwoman Ann Schwab.

California has dry, windy and hot weather from spring through late autumn that can produce moderate to devastating wildfires.

The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive such season on record in California, with a total of 8,527 fires burning an area of 1,893,913 acres (766,439 ha), according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Interagency Fire Center.

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