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For Immediate Release, June 5, 2013

Contact: Rose Braz, (510) 435-6809,  

Oakland, Calif., Joins National Call for Action Against Climate Chaos

Facing Rising Seas and Extreme Heat, City Council Urges EPA to Use Clean Air Act to Cut Carbon Pollution 

OAKLAND, Calif.— Oakland, Calif., has joined 59 other U.S. communities in calling on President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Clean Air Act to cut greenhouse gas pollution that is drastically changing the climate, driving up sea levels and increasing the risk of dangerous heat waves and extreme weather.

By passing a resolution Tuesday afternoon, the Oakland City Council has joined San Francisco, Los Angeles and nine other California cities as part of the Center for Biological Diversity’s national Clean Air Cities campaign. Nationwide, other cities include Miami, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Washington, D.C.

“Climate change will drive up Oakland’s risk of damaging floods and extreme heat, threatening our infrastructure and endangering our elderly residents,” said Councilmember Dan Kalb, who introduced the resolution. “That’s why our city previously adopted an Energy and Climate Action Plan and is proud to support the use of the Clean Air Act to fight carbon pollution. If we work quickly to cut greenhouse gas emissions and embrace clean energy, the Bay Area and communities across America can still avoid climate change’s biggest threats.”  

“Oakland’s leaders understand climate change’s threats and support using the Clean Air Act to drive down greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rose Braz, the Center’s climate campaign director. “Oakland has now joined San Francisco, Los Angeles and dozens of other cities around the country in urging national leaders to fight this terrifying threat. To avert climate chaos, President Obama must make full use of the Clean Air Act.”

Oakland is extremely vulnerable to the effects of sea-level rise driven by climate change. Most of the California coast will experience more than 3 feet of sea-level rise within this century, according to a recent report from the U.S. National Research Council; a large earthquake could cause sea level to rise suddenly by another three feet or more.

Sea-level rise and flooding caused by climate change will threaten the Oakland Airport and other important facilities and infrastructure in Alameda County, posing a risk of major economic damage, according to a report last year from the California Energy Commission.

The 2012 report also found that climate change will bring more extreme heat to the Bay Area, as well as more days with bad air quality caused by higher temperatures. Extreme heat will pose a special threat to Oakland’s most vulnerable residents, including the elderly, infants and children.

The Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign is working around the country to encourage cities to pass resolutions supporting the Clean Air Act and using the Act to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million, the level scientists say we must reach in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Similar resolutions have been approved in 60 other U.S. communities: Albany, Ithaca and Yonkers, N.Y.; Bloomfield and Hartford, Conn.; Berkeley, Santa Monica, Arcata, Oxnard, Santa Cruz, Richmond, Culver City, San Francisco, San Leandro, West Hollywood and Los Angeles, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Nashville, Tenn; Kauai, Hawaii; New Hope Borough, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pa.; Tucson, Ariz.; Boone, N.C.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.; Newton, Cambridge and Northampton, Mass.; Cincinnati and Oberlin, Ohio; Keene, N.H.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Kansas City, Mo.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Miami, South Miami, Pinecrest, Tampa, Hallandale Beach, Gulfport, Broward County and West Palm Beach, Fla.; Chicago, Ill.; Teton County, Wyo.; Eugene, Ore.; Boulder, Colo.; Burlington, Vt.; Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich.; Wilmington, Del.; Providence, R.I.; Gary, Ind.; Woodbridge, N.J.; Portland, Maine; Baltimore, Md.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Washington, D.C. Several other cities around the country will be considering resolutions over the next few months.

Learn more about the Clean Air Act and the Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign and Climate Law Institute.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 500,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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