Updated Lincoln Climate Action Plan Now Online

Lincoln, NE (February 3, 2021)  Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today released the updated 2021-2027 Climate Action Plan, which she says will continue building a strong, resilient, and thriving future for Lincoln. The updated plan is available at lincoln.ne.gov/resilient.   Mayor Gaylor Baird said adoption of the Climate Action Plan will be a critical step forward on the path to slow the pace of climate change, increase our City’s resilience, grow jobs and economic opportunity, and protect residents’ quality of life.

“While it has not arrived as a distinct event like the pandemic, our planet’s accelerated rate of climate change also poses a global threat and one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said. “We now know that flooding, drought, extreme heat, and public health problems are some of the most significant climate-related risks Lincoln faces in coming decades and that the potential local impacts of these risks will affect everyone. Embedded in these risks lie opportunities —opportunities to innovate and create new jobs and technologies as we strengthen our infrastructure, reduce our carbon footprint, and protect our quality of life.”

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Climate Action Plan Wednesday, February 17.  The meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 555 South 10th Street.  The Planning Commission will vote on a recommendation to the City Council, which would also hold a public hearing before voting on adoption of the plan.

The development of a Climate Action Plan was one of the Mayor’s top priorities after taking office in May 2019.  The draft plan, released for public review and input in October 2020, outlined a community-wide vision and includes an ambitious goal to reduce Lincoln’s net greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050, also known as the “80 by 50” goal.

The 80 by 50 goal and draft plan were the result of a year-long effort led by consultant, Verdis Group.  Verdis worked in collaboration with the Mayor’s Climate Resilience Task Force, the Sustainability Working Group and the Mayor’s Environmental Task Force, as well as climate experts, to recommend 365 strategies for the community to consider to address climate change.

Miki Esposito, a Senior Policy Advisor to the Mayor who now heads the Resilient Lincoln initiative, began a public engagement and prioritization process in November 2020 to determine how the recommended strategies that support the 80 by 50 goal could be programmed and adopted by the City.  Based on additional public feedback and input from various stakeholder meetings, the City narrowed the 365 strategies to 120 key initiatives to focus on over the next six years.  Esposito said only 20 of those initiatives are dependent on funding and would require additional City Council approval through the budget process.

Key initiatives in the final plan include:

  • Achieving the recently adopted Lincoln Electric System goal of net zero carbon dioxide production from its generation portfolio by 2040.
  • Increasing energy efficiency in City facilities and operations while pursuing a goal of being 100 percent carbon neutral by 2035.
  • Converting 100 percent of the City’s vehicle fleet to electric or renewable fuel by 2040.
  • Developing a strategy to secure a second source of water supply for Lincoln.
  • Building resilience in the Salt Creek Watershed Basin to protect vulnerable neighborhoods and businesses located in the floodplain.

“During this extensive community engagement effort, we saw overwhelming support and consideration for the 80 by 50 goal,” Esposito said. “Preparing for climate impacts involves proactive, intentional, and necessary planning to keep our residents healthy, safe, and thriving, both now and in the future. There is profound reason for hope and optimism if we act now.”

“Now is the time for a bold and achievable vision that will chart the course for the coming years,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird.  “By working together, we can harness our collective energy for innovation, for problem-solving, and for a more just community to ensure that Lincoln is thriving into 2050 and beyond. Our community has an unprecedented opportunity to meet this moment, together.”

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