The City of Iowa City has been recognized by CDP (the Climate Disclosure Project) as one of 95 cities across the globe that is taking bold leadership on environmental action and transparency, despite the continued pressures of tackling the coronavirus pandemic on local and national economies and societies.
Designed to encourage and support cities to ramp up their climate action and ambition, CDP’s Cities A List is based on environmental data disclosed by cities to the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System. A clear momentum in city climate disclosure and action is building with over 1,000 cities reporting their environmental impact through CDP in 2021. Meanwhile, 965 cities received a rating for their climate action from CDP in 2021, a substantial rise from the 591 cities scored in 2020.
To score an A, a city must disclose publicly and have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target and a renewable energy target for the future, and have published a climate action plan. It must also complete a climate risk and vulnerability assessment and have a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards. Many A List cities are also taking a variety of other leadership actions, including political commitment from a city’s Mayor to tackle climate change.
To reflect the level of ambition needed to achieve 1.5°C targets, the bar for entry to the A List has been raised. As a result, in 2021, less than one in ten cities scored by CDP (9.8% of such cities) received an A.
A List cities are demonstrating their climate leadership through concerted and effective action, just as national governments were asked to do at COP26 (the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference – Conference of the Parties). They are taking twice as many mitigation and adaptation measures as non-A List cities, and also identify more than twice as many opportunities - such as the development of sustainable transport sectors and clean technology businesses - arising from the shift to a net-zero world.
The City of Iowa City, and the other 94 cities on this year’s A List, are also celebrated for showing that urgent and impactful climate action - from ambitious emissions reduction targets to building resilience against climate change - is achievable at a global level, and in cities with different climate realities and priorities. However, this action needs to go further and faster to meet the new targets agreed at COP26.
Climate Action on a local scale
In recent years, the City of Iowa City has implemented a number of initiatives called for in its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. This includes providing in-depth training to 37 volunteers through the Climate Ambassador program, with the next training scheduled for January 2022.
The City of Iowa City also launched its first Neighborhood Energy Blitz in 2021, which delivered energy-saving kits to 1300 individual homes, and it has awarded nearly $1 million in TIF-funded grants to Iowa City businesses to implement energy efficiency and solar projects at their facilities.
In addition, the City of Iowa City hosted its second Climate Fest in September 2021, where it was announced the community has met its 45 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal for 2030 ahead of schedule.
As the City continues to work toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, many of the initiatives being developed and expanded now will help maintain momentum toward this goal. Plans are currently in place, for example, to expand the TIF-funded energy efficiency program and the Neighborhood Energy Blitz to other parts of the city in 2022.
"In many ways, it has been cities who have accelerated the climate action strategies that have been set out by global leaders," Mayor Bruce Teague said. "I am proud to celebrate our community's leadership on this issue and I am hopeful continued regional collaboration will keep pushing this work forward."
CDP is a global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states, and regions. CDP pioneered using capital markets and corporate procurement to motivate companies to disclose their environmental impacts and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests.
The full 2021 A List of cities can be found at the CDP's website.