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Area students stage walkout, demand action on climate change

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- Students around the region walked out of class on Friday to make a statement.

This is part of a global climate conversation as world leaders gather in Spain for the United Nations annual climate conference.

Friday morning at City Hall, students were demanding action saying they don't want words of encouragement.

They want the city of Rochester to declare a climate emergency and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

An Albert Lea student, Samantha Brumbaugh says she's scared many will not make it to 30.

"Our demands are not radical or crazy," she said. "Our demands are realistic in the face of this global emergency. We are here to try to stop climate change from progressing and destroying our future. As children we are terrified."

Here is list the list of their demands:

  • The Rochester City Council declares a climate emergency.
  • The City of Rochester eliminates city-wide greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030.
  • The City of Rochester immediately initiates an effort to safely sequester carbon dioxide.
  • The Rochester City Council holds an all-staff meeting within two weeks after Dec. 6, covering the latest climate science and the mobilization of resources needed in response.
  • All City and County Departments, proprietaries and commissions create reports within 60 days of the all staff meetings which outline the maximum emergency greenhouse gas emission reductions from their operations by the end of 2030, as well as the steps required to accomplish these reduced emissions. 
  • The Rochester City Council reports back within 90 days on the feasibility of the rapid phase-out of fossil fuel production, power generation and use within city limits, accounting for immediate changes to building codes, local ordinances and permitting processes to prevent the construction of new local fossil fuel infrastructure. 
  • The Public Works, Public Utilities and Community Development departments report back on opportunities for extensive greenhouse gas and co-pollutant emissions reductions draw down opportunities through updates to the Rochester City general and community plan.
  • The City Council directs the Rochester City Administrator and the Emergency Management Department to report on opportunities and funding to address the climate crisis and its impacts through existing hazard mitigation programs;
  • The City Council Directs the City Clerk, Anissa Hollingshead, to work with the existing sustainability staff to include greenhouse gas and co-pollutant impact, reduction and draw down statements in all relevant Council motions, much as it currently includes fiscal impact statements. 
  • The City Council directs the Office of Administration to report back within 90 days on the establishment of a Climate Emergency Mobilization Department Task Force to oversee the city-wide mobilization effort, with all necessary powers to coordinate City climate and environment programs including the development of a 10-year Climate Mobilization Action Plan to guide the climate emergency response, as well as all climate mitigation, resilience, adaptation, engagement, education, advocacy, and research and development programs.
  • The City commits to engaging our residents in public deliberations on the climate emergency, which will directly inform the creation of the Rochester City Climate Mobilization Action Plan in order to accomplish this city-wide climate mobilization effort and to ensure a just transition with the full democratic participation of the residents of Rochester.
  • the City commits to keeping the concerns of front line and marginalized communities central to Climate Emergency Mobilization program.
  • The City includes in its 2019 and 2020 Federal Legislative Program, support for H.Con.Res.52 and S.Con.Res.22, as well as any legislation that would initiate a national emergency-speed mobilization to reverse global warming and the ecological crisis.

Ubah Ali

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