In 2014, Austin City Council set an ambitious target to reach net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In response, the Office of Sustainability led in creating a plan of action to achieve the net-zero goal, which was adopted and began implementation in 2015. At this time, the Joint Sustainability Committee was formed to advise City staff, make recommendations to City Council, and review progress on the plan's implementation. View a summary of the Climate Plan. (En español)
Updating the Plan
Since the plan’s adoption, we’ve made progress in reducing community-wide emissions, despite rapid population growth. But, over the course of the last five years, a lot has changed in terms of technology, cost, and feasibility. We also know that the rate of global warming is happening faster than we thought, so the need to lower emissions is more urgent than ever. Additionally, the impacts of climate change are not impacting everyone in our community equally. It’s time to update and revise the Climate Plan based on where we are today.
The plan update process involves a Steering Committee and five advisory groups working to identify strategies that will help our city curb emissions and increase equity. The advisory groups are Transportation Electrification, Natural Systems, Sustainable Buildings, Transportation and Land Use, and Consumption of Goods. We are aiming to have the updated plan completed by Fall 2021. You can follow our progress on our SpeakUp Austin page.
Focus on Equity
Racial equity is the condition when race no longer predicts a person’s quality of life outcomes in our community. The City of Austin recognizes that race is the primary determinant of social equity, and therefore we begin the journey toward social equity with this definition. The City recognizes historical and structural disparities and a need for alleviation of these wrongs by critically transforming its institutions and creating a culture of equity.
We know that climate solutions have the potential to improve the quality of life of all Austinites, but climate change impacts don’t affect everyone equally. Ensuring that we are increasing equity while mitigating greenhouse gases means examining the history of racial segregation and environmental justice issues in Austin. Because of this, we are engaging with a racially and economically diverse set of people about the challenges, barriers, and opportunities facing historically underrepresented groups — specifically, people of color — in conversations around energy, transportation, food, and access to nature.
As part of this effort, we launched the Community Climate Ambassadors Program. The ambassadors engaged with members of our community on climate-related topics and provided key feedback to the Climate Plan's Advisory Groups and Steering Committee.
If you'd like more information about how to get involved, please contact Phoebe Romero.