Climate Action News


How will you make an impact?

1. Take Action.
2. Be Informed.
3. Connect to Resources.

Winter weatherization tips

Looking for ways to save on your home energy bill? Use our simple tip sheet that lists easy, inexpensive projects you can do yourself. Each project includes a link to a how-to video that shows step by step how to increase the efficiency of your home in winter. For other ways to save, Learn how one adjustment to your thermostat can add up to $83 a year in reduced energy costs. 

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 Sarah Gardner, Climate Action Engagement Specialist, at 319-887-6162.

Community Climate Action Grants

The City offers Community Climate Action Grants in order to:

The grant program is open for applications each year in February and March. Grant recipients are typically announced in April and funds are made available beginning July 1. The maximum amount of funding that can be requested is $5,000.

Organizations or groups applying must be principally and physically located in Iowa City. For-profit agencies may apply if they partner with a non-profit agency partner. 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 
  • Directly related to the City’s Climate Action Plan objectives
  • Sustainable past the project period and/or replicable in the future
  • Impactful and measurable
  • Locally focused and beneficial to a diversity of Iowa City residents

Additional information is available in Accelerating Iowa City’s Climate Actions, which outlines additional City Climate initiatives.

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. 

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

For more information: Sustainability Services, 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. 

    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. 

    University of Iowa Student Research Projects

    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.