Iowa City Climate Action and Adaptation Plan News


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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.

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

Community Climate Action Grant

About: 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 yearly grant program aims to enhance local climate action through work performed by community-based organizations. The grant will fund projects that specifically promote or implement one or more of the 35 actions within the Plan. Maximum allocation is $5,000.

Read a general summary of the grant and application process here. 

How to apply: The window to apply is currently closed. The application process begins in February, with funds available the following July 1st. Information will be released near the beginning of the calendar year to announce when the process is reopened. 

Qualifications: To apply, applicant must be principally and physically located in Iowa City.

Contact: Sustainability Services, 319-887-6161

Climate Action Steering Committee

The council authorized the creation of a Climate Action Steering Committee to oversee the development of its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. 

The Steering Committee consists of members from identified representatives in the community, five at-large members and a student representative as well as three alternates, which were selected according to the expertise, knowledge and representation of the applicant.

Community Input 

A key element of Iowa City's Climate Action and Adaptation Plan is involvement and input from the Iowa City community. 

In July 2018 and November 2017, the City hosted it first ever Community Climate Action Input meeting, with about 100 people in attendance. 

Participants broke into groups and shared their perspectives during interactive sessions, and dot voted on strategies they thought should be included as part of the Iowa City Climate Action Plan. Topics ranged from transportation to waste, energy and more. 

Widespread community input is vital for this effort to succeed. The community took part in a survey and the results are available for viewing.  

Dot voting at the 2017 Iowa City community climate action meeting.
Participants 'dot vote' during the Iowa City community climate action meeting in November 2017.

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.