Flagstaff moves toward declaring emergency on climate

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Flagstaff City Council drew an overflow crowd as it moved toward declaring a climate emergency to address climate change and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

With over 250 people present for the council’s consideration of the issue during a Tuesday night meeting, dozens of people had to sit on folding chairs in the lobby of City Hall to watch a livestream, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.

With the four-hour discussion, the council is poised to officially adopt the resolution following a legal review.

“We have seen and felt the sense of emergency. It’s time to declare such an emergency,” Councilwoman Regina Salas said after numerous members of the public spoke.

The measure would be non-binding. But activist Sara Kubisty said declaring a climate emergency sets a standard that residents and voters can cite during future policy discussions.

Councilman Austin Aslan said the declaration followed steps laid out in the city’s climate action and adaptation plan, which was approved in 2018 and which Aslan said hasn’t yet been fully implemented.

The plan states numerous policy changes and goals the city should make to help address and prepare for the effects of a changing world.

Mayor Coral Evans said she supported the resolution to declare a climate emergency. But she warned that further climate action will take real effort and won’t always be popular.