Asheville declares ‘climate emergency,’ sets goals

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina city has become the first in the state to declare a “climate emergency” and has now set goals on warming greenhouse gases and renewable energy.

Asheville City Council unanimously voted for the declaration Tuesday after months of negations between officials and young climate activists, news outlets reported.

The council committed to an “equitable and just” citywide mobilization to end greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The council also agreed to accomplish already existing goals, such as switching municipal operations to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and the whole community by 2042.

Members of Sunrise Asheville and other local groups inspired by Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg had pushed for a resolution for months. Sunrise Asheville member Alex Lines said Asheville joins 1,300 local governments in 25 countries committed to lowering emissions quickly.

The declaration is a compromise between the city and climate activists.

“Without the persistent efforts of this vitally important youth-led movement, this resolution does not happen,” City Councilman Brian Haynes said.

The City Council also agreed to dissolve a joint environmental task force after Duke Energy agreed not to build an additional fossil fuel powered plant.

The city will work with the private sector to find effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet 100% renewable energy goals.

The declaration did not give cost details for the goals.

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