Detroit Climate Strategy

  1. Making energy and water bills more affordable.
  2. Improving access to reliable transportation.
  3. Making our parks and green spaces welcoming to everyone.
  4. Improving air quality and reducing asthma.
  5. Building resilience into our day to day lives to minimize climate impacts like flooding, heat waves, and extreme weather.
  6. Inclusive public engagement that ensures equity is integrated in both municipal and community climate action.

 

These are some of the tangible benefits Detroit Climate Strategy aims to deliver for Detroiters in every neighborhood, especially its longtime residents and BIPOC communities. The pandemic has highlighted how Black, Brown, and Native people are disproportionately impacted by both Covid and climate change and how these twin crises intersect.

After a long pause, we are restarting our work by partnering with Detroit City Council’s Green Task Force to resume public outreach and engagement. The Green Task Force is a body of longtime environmental justice activists and sustainability leaders that has been working on climate solutions for more than a decade. We are excited to share new opportunities to join us in co-creating a strategy that is deeply rooted in equity:

  1. Learn more about the Climate Action Strategy by checking out the recording, presentation and FAQs document from our Facebook live session about the Detroit Climate Strategy with the chairs of the City Council Green Task Force.
  2. Nominations have closed for the Climate Equity Advisory Council (CEAC). The CEAC will meet monthly and advise on community outreach strategy, climate vulnerability analysis and resilience toolkit, and equitable community strategies to reduce emissions.
  3. Invite us to present at your next community meeting.
  4. Share a success story. Detroit residents and community organizations have been leading efforts to tackle climate change for many years. We’re looking to spotlight those efforts on our website and in the Climate Resilience Toolkit, which will be developed later this year.
  5. Sign up for our newsletter.  You’ll get updates about upcoming events, resources, and future grants for community resilience projects, and the release of the Detroit Climate Strategy.

Our Progress

As we waited for public engagement to become safe again, we made significant progress on some of the technical elements of the strategy, like updating the City’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI) for the first time since 2012. With fresh data on the size of our carbon footprint, we mapped a path to cut municipal emissions 75% by 2034, in line with the City’s 2019 Greenhouse Gas Ordinance.

The Detroit Climate Strategy is ultimately about connecting climate action to the needs of Detroiters. Climate action is about utility and housing affordability, improving air quality and transportation options, making our parks more welcoming and accessible, and ensuring we are prepared for flooding and extreme weather.

 

Heat Index
Prioritized Census Tracts

 

Developing a strategy that is inclusive and equitable must begin by centering the voices of Detroiters.

We are pleased to announce a partnership with Detroit City Council’s Green Task Force, led by Councilman Benson, to help us work alongside Detroiters to co-create a strategy that:

  • increases City capacity to address climate issues,

  • develops a data-driven climate mitigation strategy for municipal and citywide emissions,

  • integrates equitable climate resilience strategies into city operations,

  • engages the public in the development and implementation of climate mitigation and resilience action steps, and

  • builds internal and external tools to continuously evaluate climate strategies.

We are excited about opportunities [Link to above] to resume a series of public engagement activities and develop resources for community groups that had been planned for many months.

About the Detroit Climate Strategy

In May 2020, the Office of Sustainability began work on a comprehensive Detroit Climate Strategy. The strategy will lead to major reductions in the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that Detroiters are able to weather the impacts of flooding, extreme weather, and heat waves that are already increasing. In the midst of the pandemic, it’s clear that building resilience in every Detroit neighborhood is critical for helping Detroiters thrive in the face of future crises, from climate to public health to economic recessions.

Over the next year and a half, the Office of Sustainability will create a climate strategy that fulfills the requirements of the Greenhouse Gas Inventory ordinance and supports a number of actions in the Sustainability Action Agenda, and:

  • increases city capacity to address climate issues,

  • develops a data-driven climate mitigation strategy for municipal and citywide emissions,

  • integrates equitable climate resilience strategies into city operations,

  • engages the public in the development and implementation of climate mitigation and resilience action steps, and

  • builds internal and external tools to continuously evaluate climate strategies.

This work is about reducing utility bills, improving air quality, greening our neighborhoods, and creating new job opportunities.

Contextualizing this Work

There are substantial intersections between racial equity and environmental issues that are the focus of the Office of Sustainability. There have been significant links noted between poor air quality and dying from COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic impacts our ability to address extreme weather events and exposed weaknesses in how we can respond to them. It follows then that public opinion polls show that African-Americans, along with Latinos, are, on average, more concerned about climate issues than whites.

Even within Detroit, some neighborhoods face more severe climate impacts like heat waves and flooding than others, and resources to weather these impacts are not evenly distributed.

 

Temperature Map
A map of afternoon temperatures in Detroit on August 8th, 2020. Volunteers drove and biked transects with temperature monitors to identify heat islands.

 

We believe, therefore, that we must address climate issues holistically, keeping racial equity at their core, and addressing the intersections between climate and pandemics like COVID-19. That is why we are so excited to be launching, especially in this extremely challenging time, the Detroit Climate Strategy.

Watch a recording of our Detroit Solar Toolkit Webinar.
 

Community Garden