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.
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. These goals aligned with the U.S. targets set by the Paris Agreement and agreed upon for the United States by President Obama in 2016.
The following August of 2019, the Council declared a Climate Crisis and 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 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 identifiy 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
Take the Iowa City Climate Action pledge and commit to the actions you'll take to make a difference
Subscribe to Iowa City's Sustainability Newsletter
Become a Climate Ambassador
- Access additional resources, including programs and grant opportunities, related to the 5 Action Areas of the Climate Action Plan:
- Buildings & Energy
- Sustainable Lifestyle
Climate Action Commission
- 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.
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.
- 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 ecoCity Pilot 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.