Climate Action News


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Just released: 100 Day Report on Accelerating Climate Actions 

How will you make an impact?

1. Take Action.
2. Get Educated.
3. Climate Crisis Declaration.

The City Council established a community-wide greenhouse gas emissions target and has created its first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to develop strategies to achieve its emissions target.

In September of 2018, the Council approved a resolution setting community-wide greenhouse gas reduction goals of 26-28% for the year 2025 and 80% by 2050. The baseline year for these reductions was 2005. At the time the reduction goals were set, they were in alignment with the U.S. targets set by the Paris Agreement and agreed upon for the United States by President Obama in 2016.

Then in August of 2019, the Council approved new emissions goals in accordance with new goals from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): reduce carbon emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, then net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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.

Related: Sign up to receive sustainability news at 

Select a link below to be directed to more information on this page. 

Climate Action Commission

In October 2019, the City Council authorized the creation of a Climate Action Commission to carry out the following duties:
  • 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 Brenda Nations, Sustainability Services Coordinator, at 319-887-6161.

Community Climate Action Grants

Grant Timeline

  • Grant posted:  Feb. 3, 2020
  • Deadline for application:  March 3, 2020   
  • Review of applications completed:  March 15, 2020  
  • Grant funds awarded: March 30, 2020  
  • Funds available:  July 1, 2020

All grant funds must be used by: June 30, 2021

Purpose The purpose of this funding is to inspire and promote public involvement in the implementation of the Iowa City Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Community input and involvement are crucial to reduce local greenhouse emissions in order to reach community-wide carbon reduction goals. This grant program aims to enhance local climate action through work performed by community-based organizations.  This year the grant will fund projects that specifically promote or implement one or more of the 35 actions within the Plan.

Available Funding The maximum amount of funding an organization can request is $5,000. The amount of $50,000 will be awarded now and will be available from July 1 to June 30, 2020.

Requirements The organization or group must be principally and physically located in Iowa City. This year partnering with other organizations is not required. For-profit agencies may apply if they partner with a non-profit agency partner in the project. Any applicant or partnering group located outside of Iowa City must demonstrate that the population or area served will primarily be people or places within Iowa City.

The goal of the grant project must align with the goals listed in Iowa City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.  

  • Funding will go to projects that are:
  • Ready to be implemented and can be completed within 12 months or less
  • Focused, planned, and reasonable in scope
  • Innovative and impactful, directly related to the City’s Climate Action Plan objectives
  • Sustainable past the project period and/or replicable in the future
  • Impactful and measurable (kWhs, therms, number of people reached, etc.)
  • Locally focused and beneficial to a diversity of residents of Iowa City

Additional information is available in Accelerating Iowa City’s Climate Actions, which outlines additional City Climate initiatives that align with the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

For projects involving energy efficiency in a specific building, preference will be given to applicants that can provide in their applications at least 12 months data for that building, which is uploaded in Energy Star Portfolio Manager. This will act as a method to benchmark energy use to show the impact of the project. The process of adding your energy bills is fairly simple and the Portfolio Manager Quick Start Guide provides additional information on how to get started. 

Grant funds cannot be used for operational costs such as rent or salaries. A maximum of 20% of funds may go towards administrative costs.

Grant Application Form

Summary of Grant 

Grant Evaluation, Monitoring, Payment and Closeout

Grant Ranking Criteria 

Grant Summary Report (for after the grant is completed)  

Contact: Sustainability Services, 319-887-6161

Greenhouse Gas Reports 

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. 

ecoCity Pilot Summary Report

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.

Climate Projection 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.