Mayor Ron Nirenberg & San Antonio City Council Must Declare a Climate Emergency
Following Winter Storm URI, which led to days long power outages and deaths across the state, San Antonians are now facing record-breaking heat that is yet again putting a strain on our energy grid and putting lives in danger. Repeated messages from scientists are sounding the alarm that extreme weather events are coming stronger and faster than the international community had predicted.
San Antonio and the rest of the world are in a climate emergency. Federal, state, and local leaders have failed to do their due diligence to prepare and protect the public. Local leaders must declare a climate emergency, and re-commit to implementing the adaptation strategies detailed in the 2019 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Some of the adaptation strategies outlined would help those suffering from extreme deadly heat but lack the resources to protect themselves or their families.
As a collective body of concerned citizens, volunteers, community organizers, we ask you to join us in a national day of action to demand our city leaders make bold moves to address the moment and declare a climate emergency. Local leaders must also push for state and federal action. We can’t just simply “beat the heat.” We are calling for proactive solutions and not temporary fixes.
Since May, San Antonio has experienced more than 40 days above 100 degrees and set 11 heat-related records. CPS Energy Customers have seen a 50 percent increase in utility bills from last year, compounding utility debt surpassing $160M.
Amid extreme temperatures, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has called for statewide energy conservation, as power demand continues to stress our power grid. In the midst of this we have learned that Mayor Ron Nirenberg withheld critical information from the community (and his fellow CPS board members) while our city debated the future of one of our key climate strategies—energy efficiency programs, including potentially life-saving weatherization. If we had known CPS Energy had been purposefully downplaying the effectiveness of these programs we would certainly have invested in a much stronger program than we did.
We also call on CPS Energy to stop misleading the public, plan for the retirement of the city's largest polluter, the Spruce Coal Plant and work with community members to plan for a sustainable future powered with clean energy and good union jobs.
Extreme heat and environmental pollutants caused by the burning of fossil fuels have various effects on the well being of the land, water, air and people of San Antonio of which low income, Black, and brown San Antonians bear the brunt of the damage. The effects of worsening air quality on the body include respiratory illness, birth defects, and low infant mortality rates.
The organizations and leaders below are urging Mayor Nirenberg, City Council and the Public Utilities to take action and declare a climate emergency to get rapid resources to our community and create a path to recovery.
Sueños Sin Fronteras
Southwest Workers Union
Climate Justice San Antonio
Sunrise San Antonio
MOVE Texas Action Fund
We Power San Antonio
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center