NTREG: Austin Rethink/ News | Climate Equity Plan Adopted by City Council



What can we learn from this to help with Dallas & other North Central TX Environmental & Climate Action plans?

From: City of Austin Office of Sustainability <sustainability@...>
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2021 6:30 AM
To: James Orenstein <jorenstein@...>
Subject: Rethink/ News | Climate Equity Plan Adopted by City Council

Austin Climate Equity Plan Adopted by City Council

The plan accelerates our city’s net-zero goal by ten years while prioritizing racial equity in climate solutions

On Sept. 30, Austin City Council adopted the Austin Climate Equity Plan. The plan includes the bold and aggressive goal of equitably reaching net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 with a strong emphasis on cutting emissions by 2030. Getting to net-zero means the Austin community would emit zero greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The new plan was created with an intentional focus on engaging racially and economically diverse residents about the challenges, barriers, and opportunities facing historically excluded groups. Nearly 200 individuals helped author the plan using feedback from over 1,500 community members, including Community Climate Ambassadors.

“If we are not proactively addressing equity and centering it in our ability to address climate change, we would be perpetuating injustice,” said Zach Baumer, Climate Program Manager.

Five key focus areas are covered in the plan, including sustainable buildings, transportation and land use, transportation electrification, food and product consumption, and natural systems. Four overarching strategies touch all areas of the plan, which focus on prioritizing green jobs and entrepreneurship, community-led organizations, regional collaboration, and leveraging CO₂ removal and offset projects when necessary.

If we reached all the goals outlined in the Climate Equity Plan — including Austin’s major energy and mobility plans — we could lower our current greenhouse gas emissions by 52% by 2030. But we can’t do it alone. Addressing the climate crisis requires all of us to take action in big and small ways.


Introducing: Austin Climate Leaders

Solving climate change requires both individual and collective action. In creating the Austin Climate Equity Plan, we were reminded of the barriers to action many community members face and the critical role institutions can play in leading by example. Businesses and organizations across our region can have a big impact when it comes to addressing the climate crisis.

With this in mind, we are pleased to introduce the Austin Climate Leaders. These 51 organizations, including small and large businesses and local nonprofits, have all pledged their support for the vision and goals of the Austin Climate Equity Plan. Each of them has also committed to taking action to lower their carbon footprint.


Mapping Austin's tree canopy

Austin is well-known for its hot summers, which regularly reach over 90 degrees. When you're standing underneath the shade of a tree, that heat can feel much more bearable. In fact, trees have been shown to lower temperatures by as much as 10 degrees during the heat of a summer day.

While Austin is known for its beautiful trees, our tree canopy coverage is not equitably distributed. When our office helped conduct a study of ambient heat in Austin last summer, we noticed that neighborhoods in Austin's Eastern Crescent experienced higher temperatures. In response, we worked with Google to help create an AI-powered Tree Canopy insight map. Using this map, we worked alongside the City's forestry team to develop Austin’s Community Tree Priority Map. This resource will be used to prioritize planting trees in neighborhoods in the Eastern Crescent to ensure equitable tree canopy coverage across Austin.

Increasing tree canopy coverage is one of the strategies in Austin's new Climate Equity Plan and is meant to help address the climate crisis by reducing emissions equitably.


The City joins partners to launch the first Austin Youth Climate Equity Council

The City of Austin's Office of Sustainability is partnering with EcoRise, UT's Planet Texas 2050, and the Austin Independent School District to engage a group of 20-30 youth as leaders in local climate action. Youth leaders will be chosen from AISD high schools directly impacted by climate hazards, including extreme heat and flooding. Members of the Austin Youth Climate Equity Council will support the implementation of the City of Austin’s Climate Equity Plan and Austin ISD’s sustainability and resilience planning, all the while gaining hands-on experience and professional development.

“Youth voices are critical to climate work,” said Lucia Athens, the City of Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “The actions we’re taking now will help shape the world they inherit. We’re thrilled to bring young people into the process and give them a seat at the table.”

The program is currently accepting applications through October 15. They are also seeking professional mentors to support members throughout their journey. If you are interested in serving as a mentor, please contact Celine Rendon at celine@....



The Bright Green Future Grant Program provides funding for school-based sustainability projects. From 2019-2021, the program adapted to continue serving schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching 12,500 students through funded projects. 


Roots & Wings Festival
Oct. 24 - Nov. 6

Events Across the City
Connect with nature and each other through two-weeks of events celebrating Arbor Day and Monarch Appreciation Day.

Harvest Fair
Nov. 6, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Willie Mae Kirk Library
A drive-thru event about the food and health resources and services available to the community.


Austin Public Health is offering funding to projects that help prevent chronic disease in Austin and Travis County. Eligible projects include active living, healthy eating, community gardens, healthy food access, overall wellness, and more.

Projects will be awarded up to $2,500, and applications close Oct. 31.


The Winter Storm Project is looking for artists to submit work for an arts anthology about Winter Storm Uri. They are looking for art that expresses individual experiences of the storm and its lasting impact on our changing climate. Send us your art, your stories, and anything in between.

Submissions will be open through Dec. 15, 2021. Poems, essays, manifestos, journal entries, photography, visual art, song lyrics, music, performance art, interviews, film, and nonfiction pieces will be accepted.


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