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The Risks of Climate Change

WHEREAS:

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN-IPCC) 5th Assessment Report finds that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that “it is extremely likely that more than half the observed increase…was caused by the anthropogenic increase in Greenhouse Gas [GHG] emissions…” and that “Continued emission of Greenhouse Gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes… increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems…[and] It is very likely that heatwaves will occur more often and last longer, and that extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent… [that] the ocean will continue to warm and acidify, and global mean sea level will rise…”; and

WHEREAS:

The UN-IPCC finds Climate Change “will amplify existing risks and create new risks for natural and human systems…[and] the risk of abrupt or irreversible changes increases as the magnitude of warming increases…[and] without additional mitigation efforts…warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread and irreversible impact globally…”; and

WHEREAS:

The cost of recovering from catastrophic losses induced by extreme weather events such as severe storms, drought stricken wildfires, droughts or flooding resulting from changing climactic weather patterns, or inundation from sea-level rise or a combination thereof, place a large financial burden on federal, state, county and municipal budgets; and

WHEREAS:

The public, our economy, society as a whole, and the government bodies that serve them depend on a stable climate to produce goods and services and function in general; and

WHEREAS:

Civil service workers and employees of the government agencies depend on a stable budget for their own livelihoods.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

That the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will immediately begin using its political leverage and power to lobby governments and policy-makers to address the risks of climate change, reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emission and to begin mitigation and adaptation measures in order that the most severe and potentially catastrophic effects of climate change may be avoided; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

AFSCME will champion and support our members who regulate environmental pollution and protect public health and the environment and ensure they can carry out their work with integrity by supporting whistleblower protection laws and the enforcement of such laws.

SUBMITTED BY: John Briceno, President and Delegate
Ruben Rodriguez, 1st Vice President and Delegate
AFSCME Local 444, Council 57
California

Jim Orr, President and Delegate
Karen Font Williams, Secretary and Delegate
AFSCME Local 3336, Council 75
Oregon

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