Milwaukee's Climate and Equity Plan

The City of Milwaukee faces the major challenges from both climate change and racial disparities. The City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity was created in 2019 (Common Council File 190445) to make recommendations on how to:

 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Share Your Thoughts
  • Learn about the Task Force
  • Ten Big Ideas
  • Carbon Data from ICLEI

Creating the best Climate and Equity Plan means creating a plan that works for everyone, and we can't do that without your feedback! From outdoor events to online surveys, we'll be offering opportunities to give your feedback all summer long!

Here are some steps you can take today to share your thoughts! 

  1. Take our video survey, where you'll be asked to record your thoughts and stories about climate change in our community. Take the survey at: Milwaukee.gov/Climate-Talk
  2. Fill out the American Rescue Plan Act Public Survey to say you want the City to prioritize Climate Change and the Environment with the $394 million of federal stimulus funding. 
  3. Attend upcoming summer events to learn more about each of the Ten Big Ideas and share your thoughts! Events will be posted on this website and also on ECO's Facebook
  4. Sign up for the ECO Newsletter or follow us on Facebook to stay updated on upcoming events and opportunities fo provide feedback.   
  5. Engage on Social Pinpoint, an online platform to share your ideas, thoughts, and feedback with Task Force members! 

The City of Milwaukee, through its Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO) 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 with a full description of climate threats and actions at Milwaukee.gov/climateMilwaukee County and other units of Milwaukee local government also have environmental sustainability offices that work on these issues.

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. 

Ten Big Ideas

1. Residential Energy Efficiency and Solar Retrofits 

Many Milwaukeeans struggle to pay their electric bills, but home energy efficiency upgrades can help reduce those costs while reducing our carbon footprint. This plan would expand pre-existing energy efficiency programs across a range of incomes and owner/rental situations, giving more families access to affordable upgrades for things like insulation or high-efficiency heating and cooling.

2. New Green Buildings 

Housing is a critical piece of Milwaukee's infrastructure. We aim to develop a new model for efficiently and affordably producing new net-zero energy homes, by fabricating housing components in a new factory in the 30th Street Corridor. Read the full plan here

3. Commercial Building Standards 

As more national and international businesses make Milwaukee their home, it's crucial we help building owners reduce their impact on our shared environment. Requiring large commercial buildings to report annually on energy and water-use will give us benchmark data and allow us to later phase in building performance standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

4. Electric Vehicles 

Cars are the dominant form of transportation in Milwaukee, but local governments can lead the way by purchasing electric vehicles (or hybrids when applicable) for their fleet, installing infrastructure, and changing codes and ordinances to make EVs easier to acquire. 

5. Reducing Vehicle Miles 

Transportation is one of the greatest sources of greenhouse gas emissions but we can center our community around lower-emission practices through transit-oriented development, new zoning standards, Complete Streets practices, and "last mile" solutions. 

6. Net Zero Electric Grid 

A transition to clean, renewable energy is one of the most important steps in combatting climate change. The City-County Task Force are advocating for State-level changes like net-zero power grids and a newly proposed Community Energies Program to purchase renewables through the utility. 

7. Preserve and Restore Nature in the City 

Not only is green space helpful for mitigating the effects of oncoming climate change and storms, it's an essential part of a healthy and equitable community. The City of Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Plan offers strategies like tree planting, de-paving, soil restoration, and native plants. Paired with efforts to both preserve and restore natural areas in the City, this plan will create a greener community for us all! 

8. Food Waste Reduction 

Milwaukee's Food Waste Initiative would seek to reduce food waste sent to landfill, prioritizing the most preferred use of the EPA's Food Recovery Hierarcy: source reduction through an educational campaign and bringing safe, healthy food to those who need it most. 

9. Green Jobs Accelerator 

As our community prepares to combat current and oncoming climate change, we need a growing field of skilled, environmental professionals. The Green Jobs Accelerator would recruit, train, and connect people of color to these new green jobs and contracting opportunities. 

10. Resilience Ambassadors 

Milwaukee offers a range of programs for residents like anti-displacement services, weatherization, flood insurance, green infratructure, and cooling centers. Resilience Ambassadors are neighborhood leaders who can help connect residents to existing programs and all of the new initiatives outlined in this plan. 

 

Check out the Plan Outline and 10 Big Ideas here

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

 

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