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XR Protesters Demand SJ Climate Emergency

About 30 protesters organized by climate crisis advocacy groups Extinction Rebellion South Bay and Project Now San Jose carried out a one-hour die-in at San Jose City Hall on Friday to demand that the city declare a Climate Change Emergency, as six nations and over 800 cities have done. San Jose residents shocked by global inaction on climate change have urged such a declaration and for the city to prioritize programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions for years, to no avail. Another die-in protest organized by “XR” activists took place in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday.

City officials continue to pretend that the emissions reductions programs they are already implementing are sufficient, while at the same time planning for huge emissions increases from automotive and air transportation and future development. The city’s efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change, codified in its February 2018 Climate Smart San Jose plan, thus far amount to barely more than a slick marketing campaign to convince residents that we’re on track. The city is nowhere near reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by five percent each year as required to prevent irreversible destruction of the Earth’s ecosystems, and emissions might actually be going up if overall motor vehicle use continues to rise.

Extinction Rebellion protesters shut down streets to car traffic in New York City in April.

“San Jose is a green leader. Declaring a climate emergency sends an influential message that climate change is real and that climate action is an urgent, top priority,” stated Extinction Rebellion South Bay in a follow-up July 27 Twitter post. “Businesses here need to know this. Declare publicly.”

In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Alameda, Hayward, Fairfax, Petaluma, Cupertino, and Santa Cruz have already adopted climate emergency declarations. City of San Jose has not yet considered the concept at any public meeting.

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