Climate Action News
Less heat stress. Improved health. Cleaner air and water. Greater resilience.
A better future is possible. Iowa City has a plan.
We can work together to achieve it.
In September 2018, the City Council established its first community-wide greenhouse gas emissions target and created a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to develop strategies to achieve emission reductions.
The following August of 2019, the Council declared a Climate Crisis and approved new emissions goals in accordance with those set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): reduce carbon emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, then achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
City staff were charge with creating the Accelerating Iowa City's Action Plan within 100 days of the Climate Crisis declaration to identify a path toward achieving these emissions reduction goals. It contains 64 actions to be initiated by the City by 2025.
In addition, The Climate Action Toolkit was created as a resource guide to provide residents, businesses, schools and community-based organizations with information to take steps in reducing the City’s community-wide greenhouse gas emissions.
Select a link below to be directed to more information on this page.
Climate Action Resources for Residents
- Keep track of progress being made on Iowa City's climate action goals through the 2020 Annual Update on Climate Action and the most recent bi-monthly progress reports
- Take the Iowa City Climate Action pledge and commit to the actions you'll take to make a difference
- Complete the Climate Action checklist at your home, or at your business.
- Take the "How Big of a Climate Champion Are You?" quiz.
- Subscribe to Iowa City's Sustainability Newsletter
- Discover resources featured in the virtual Climate Fest
- Become a Climate Ambassador
- Access additional resources, including programs and grant opportunities, related to the 5 Action Areas of the Climate Action Plan:
- Check out recent issues of Iowa City's Sustainability Newsletter below and subscribe to receive the monthly newsletter email
- advise the council on climate issues
- research, promote, and analyze climate actions with particular attention to equity
- engage the public on climate and sustainability goals
- assist City staff, City Council, and members of the community with implementing approved initiatives that support the City’s climate and sustainability goals.
The commission meets on the first Monday of each month at 3:30 p.m. in City Hall.
The commission consists of 11 members. Two of these are standing members representing the University of Iowa and MidAmerican Energy.
Applications for the commission are accepted year-round and retained for one year in the event that a commission member is unable to continue.
Questions can be directed to Sarah Gardner, Climate Action Engagement Specialist, at 319-887-6162.
Iowa City Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report
The purpose of the Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report is to summarize the results of the community-wide GHG inventory using the Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emissions, which identifies both the quantity and sources of emissions produced from activities within Iowa City. This data will assist in informed decision-making to determine future actions to be taken by the community.
Watch this video to learn more about the goals the City is trying to meet, including ways you can help with the process.
Iowa City Municipal Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The City has made substantial progress since 2000 in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiencies and reducing energy costs in city operations. The goal of this report is to update the past municipal GHG inventory, completed in 2009, using updated data for the City's new benchmark. In comparing past inventories, City staff can gain understanding of trends over time to learn what has been successful, as well as understand how to interpret what efforts might be most impactful in reducing future emissions.
- Read the full Iowa City Municipal Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Consumption Based Emissions Inventory
Iowa City received a grant from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network to pilot a consumption based emissions inventory tool that has been successfully used in Vancouver, Canada. The goal of the project was to a) create a consumption based emissions inventory and an ecological footprint for Iowa City and b) to better understand if the work can be easily replicated in other U.S. cities. This inventory includes not only emissions from locally generated fossil fuel emissions, but also emissions due to consumable materials and food consumed by Iowa City residents. Cities are moving towards gathering this type of information to get a better understanding of a more accurate picture of the emissions generated from urban centers and how to make changes to lower our impact on the planet.
- Read the full Consumption Based Emissions Summary Report
The Climate in the Heartland is a report that was the result of collaboration between five Midwestern cities and climate experts from their respective states. This project looked at historical climate data and used a variety of modeling techniques to get an accurate projection of future climate projections for each location. The goal of this work was to assist participating cities as they prepare for climate change impact so they can adapt their operations to better serve citizens in a changing environment.
- Read the 2015 Climate in the Heartland Report
Since the release of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, students and classes with the University of Iowa have engaged with projects that take a deeper dive into the plan and identify implementation strategies focused on mitigation, adaptation, and equity. These projects have evaluated vulnerabilities to extreme weather events within Iowa City, efforts that can advance clean energy adoption and enhance resilience, and actions that can protect frontline communities. Read reports connected with these projects below.