Monona City Council to vote on climate change, divestment resolution

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Monona’s Sustainability Committee has unanimously approved a proposed resolution — "City of Monona Supports Practices That Reduce Monona’s Dependence on Fossil Fuels" — acknowledging that climate change exists, conceding that climate change is primarily caused by burning fossil fuels and establishing priorities for addressing the threat.

The proposed resolution would make reducing the consumption of fossil fuels in the Wisconsin city's operations and in the operations of its vendors a priority, according to a news release from 350 Madison on July 11. The measure also would establish “a priority to educate the residents and business owners of Monona about the importance of reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuels and suggest a variety of ways they can work toward that goal.” These include fossil fuel divestment, reinvestment in renewable energy and shareholder advocacy.

The committee approved the resolution on June 19 and introduced it to the city council on July 7. The council could vote on the resolution on July 21 or Aug. 4.

“I’m very proud of Monona for taking this step to not only acknowledge the reality of climate change but to take action on reducing its own fossil fuel use," said Beth Esser, a Monona resident and co-coordinator of 350 Madison. “The city has established itself as a leader in renewable energy with its recent solar panel installation on four municipal buildings. This resolution solidifies the city’s commitment to addressing the harsh realities of our need to quit using fossil fuels if we want to preserve a livable future for our children and grandchildren.”

350 Madison is a local group working to address climate change.

Esser and other 350 Madison members say the city’s efforts to educate citizens and businesses on the tactics of divestment, reinvestment and shareholder advocacy will be especially important.

“The time has come for national and international legislation to address fossil fuel use and speed up our transition to an infrastructure based on renewable energy,” said Adam Gundlach, a Monona resident and advocate of the resolution. “Actions taken by individuals and municipalities to transition away from fossil fuels send an important message to industry and political leaders, and encourage further efforts regionally and nationally. The transition becomes reality with each decision we make and each step we take toward a sustainable existence."

The fossil fuel divestment movement follows successful divestment movements of the past, such as the South African apartheid divestment movement.

Scientists have stated that the continued burning of fossil fuels will be catastrophic for human life because of rising CO2 levels and increasing global temperature.

The goal of the divestment movement is to stigmatize the fossil fuel companies and create political pressure on governments to pass carbon-restrictive legislation. Environmentalists and economists alike are supportive of fossil fuel divestment, as, when the true price of carbon emissions is realized, the continued investment in fossil fuels is not only environmentally risky, but also financially risky.