Project 51

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It’s easy to be overwhelmed by climate news. Floods, wildfires, hurricanes, all happening more and more often and on epic scales. Every headline reminds us the stakes are high and the consequences of inaction are dire. The time to act is now.

But the good news? People are taking action. Every day victories are won, great and small. Momentum is building. The solutions are taking shape.

Those stories matter too. They carry an important truth – we have the tools and ability to prevent the worst outcomes of climate change. We just need the courage to act.

Inspired by the 51st celebration of Earth Day, Project 51 continues to add dispatches of good news and bits of inspiration from the climate front. Each one is a reason to stay engaged. Each is also a reminder: if we keep making progress and piling up the good news, sooner or later those scales are going to tip in our favor. These little victories light the way.

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  • Iowa City is projected to meet or exceed its goal of reducing GHG emissions by 45% by 2030. The reduction of about 681,000 tons of emissions annually takes a big step toward achieving net zero by 2050.
  • By hitting net zero by 2050, the U.S. could add $1 trillion to the American economy.
  • More than 4,000 tons of material were composted in 2020 through Iowa City’s curbside organics program, a 24% increase over the year before.
  • Iowa City planted a total of 400 trees in 2020, more than doubling the previous year’s record. The Root for Trees program aims to help residents plant 500 more.
  • In 2020, nearly 1.5 wind turbines were constructed in Iowa every day, bringing the total number of turbines in the state to nearly 5,900. Nearly 60% of electricity in Iowa is now generated by wind, more than any other state in the nation.
  • The Iowa City School District surpassed its emissions reduction goals in 2020, putting it on track to reduce emissions 62% by 2024.
  • From 2017 to 2020, electric vehicles have charged at Iowa City’s public charging stations 7,305 times, resulting in more than 55,762 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions savings.
  • Rapid advances in battery technology suggest all new cars in the U.S. could be electric by 2035, resulting in consumer cost savings of over $2.7 trillion compared to continued use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles.
  • Amtrak recently announced plans to extend a line to Iowa City, which according to a DOT study could replace 1.4 million vehicle trips, 324,700 bus rides and 40,900 plane trips a year with more fuel-efficient travel by train.
  • Iowa's largest solar project, featuring 318,000 bifacial solar panels capable of producing 127.5 megawatts of energy began operating just 50 miles south of Iowa City in March, nearly doubling the state's installed solar capacity.
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City Government