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Milwaukee's Climate & Equity Plan

Greenhouse gas emissions from excessive use of fossil fuels are changing the Earth’s atmosphere and dangerously warming the planet. In addition, Milwaukee has pronounced historical racial disparities that could be exacerbated by climate change. This Plan is the latest effort of the City’s work to combat climate change, advance racial equity, and ensure long-term prosperity—work that has made Milwaukee a leading city in Wisconsin on climate policy.

All Milwaukeeans will be affected by climate change, and low-income communities face environmental hazards at a higher rate. In the face of these threats, Milwaukee will support a new clean energy economy that provides opportunities for people of color to more fully and equitably participate in the economic life of the city.

Impact on Milwaukee 

This plan builds from the Refresh Milwaukee Plan and is intended to further accelerate action and define clear greenhouse gas reduction and racial equity goals.


Milwaukee Carbon ForecastThe Plan has Two Primary Objectives:

  • Reduce community greenhouse gas emissions: 45% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050

  • Improve racial and economic equity by creating $40,000, focusing recruitment on people of color

Milwaukee Carbon Data Forecast 

  • The Business-As-Usual forecast is a projection of emissions through 2050 based on estimated population growth for Milwaukee, changes in fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, and anticipated shifts to more renewable energy sources in our electricity grid. Modeled by Local Governments for Sustainability, the forecast indicates the most effective measures will be those that tackle both electricity and natural gas consumption and vehicle-miles-traveled by gasoline and diesel vehicles.


10 Big Ideas for Action

To achieve its objectives, the plan outlines 10 Big Ideas to reduce greenhouse gases, increase racial equity, and make Milwaukee a prosperous city for the future.


Green home improvement

#1: Green Jobs Accelerator

Energy audit

#2: Healthy Home Energy Upgrades

Modular Home Construction

#3: New Net-Zero Energy Homes

Better Buildings Challenge Executive Center

#4: Commercial Energy Benchmarking & Building Performance Standards


Milwaukee County Transit Bus

#5: People Centered Transportation & Urban Design


Electric vehicle charging

#6: Electrify Transportation

Solar Field

#7: Greening the Electric Grid

Aerial View of Community Garden

#8: Nature in the City


Food bank

#9: Waste Reduction & Sustainable Consumption


Eco Neighborhood Designation

#10: Resilience Ambassadors

Public Feedback

Hear from community members why the Milwaukee Climate and Equity Plan is important to them.


Further Climate Action

The City of Milwaukee, through its Environmental Collaboration Office, has been a leader in Wisconsin on local energy policy and climate action for the last decade, with efforts in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green infrastructure. In 2018, the City began its climate action planning process by publishing a Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions InventoryMilwaukee County and other units of Milwaukee local government also have environmental sustainability offices that work on these issues. The same year as the City, the County published its own Community Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory.

Addressing climate change will require policy changes at every level of government. ECO has developed a list of policy recommendations for consideration by the State of Wisconsin and has submitted these to the Governor's Task Force on Climate Change. The Task Force represents a concerted community effort to recognize the urgency of climate change and racial inequities. It seeks to identify solutions and accelerate the pace of change. 

Planning Process

The plan is the direct outgrowth of over three years of public discussions and planning through the City-County Taskforce on Climate and Economic Equity.

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  June 2019: The City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity Is Created

The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County jointly established the City-County Task force on Climate and Economic Equity, sponsored by then Milwaukee County Supervisor, Supreme Moore through Common Council File 190445.

The Task Force was formed to make recommendations on how to:

  1. Reduce community-wide net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45% by the year 2030 and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner.

  2. Reduce racial and income inequality by assuring that greenhouse gas reduction investments and policies will create the maximum number of permanent living wage green jobs for people who live in the most impoverished Milwaukee neighborhoods with limited economic opportunity.

  March 2020:The Task Force's Preliminary Report is Published

The Task Force writes in its Preliminary Report, "A comprehensive climate action plan is a time-intensive endeavor; generally taking one to 2 years to complete and numerous years to implement. This preliminary report takes stock of the work already being done in this area around Milwaukee, charts a path to achieve ambitious medium- and long-term climate and equity goals, and provides recommendations for short-term solutions that may make an immediate impact."

At this time, the Task Force created four work groups to investigate and make recommendations on the following issues:

  1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment and Reduction Strategies
  2. Jobs and Equity
  3. Finance and Funding
  4. Education and Community Outreach
  2021: The Task Force Conducts Research & Hold Meetings

Throughout the year, members conducted video surveys, held events, and took part in dozens of working group meetings. These efforts drew citizen input for the plan to begin a starting draft on the "10 Big Ideas" for Milwaukee to focus on.

•  Read more about their work below:


  March 2022: Summary of Working Group Recommendations is Presented to the Common Council

Following a year of research, ECO Director Erick Shambarger presented the the summary of the Task Force's working groups to the Council on "10 Big Ideas." A consultant was then hired to turn the recommendations into a formal draft for public review.

•  Watch the Presentation to the Council's Steering and Rules Committee

Milwaukee's Climate and Equity Plan Summary of Working Group Recommendations PowerPoint

  November 2022: Draft Milwaukee Climate and Equity Plan Available to the Public for Feedback

After more than a year of research and planning, the City unveiled a draft of the plan for public comment at at a public Town Hall at Milwaukee Public Library, online via English and Spanish surveys, and at community listening sessions across the city. Public feedback was then integrated into the final version of the plan to be presented to the Common Council for adoption.

•  Watch a Video Recording of the Town Hall (In English & Spanish)

Town Hall Video Recording

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