Detroit Climate Strategy
Detroit Climate Strategy Restart
In May, 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.
In the near term, the team is assessing the city’s current emissions by updating its Greenhouse Gas Inventories and developing emissions reduction strategies to meet the targets of the GHG ordinance. Over the summer, the team will create a Climate Resilience Toolkit that residents, community organizations, and businesses can use to prepare for climate impacts.
As with the Sustainability Action Agenda, input from Detroiters is essential to developing an equitable climate strategy. As we emerge from COVID-19, the Office of Sustainability will evaluate safe, effective ways to host public engagement sessions when it becomes safe to do so.
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Contexualizing 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.
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.