Dane County’s Office of Energy & Climate Change released the county’s Climate Action Plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing other climate issues Tuesday, according to the office’s website.
The CAP provided a science-based strategy to reduce GHG emissions and address ways the climate is already changing. The plan outlined programs, policies and projects to help the county better meet its climate goals.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi created the county’s Office of Energy & Climate Change in 2017. Collaborating with local governments, public utilities, businesses and organizations, the office led the effort in developing the first county-wide CAP.
“The Dane County CAP is my promise to take bold action, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase our resiliency and quality of life, and ensure that Dane County continues to lead in confronting climate change,” Parisi said in the opening message of the plan.
By implementing the policies, programs and projects outlined in the plan, Dane County will see a county-wide reduction of GHG emissions by up to 50% by 2030, in consistency with the latest recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change. These efforts will put the county on a path to deep decarbonization, according to the CAP.
The plan also set the goal for Dane County to power one-half of its electricity through wind and one-third through solar energy by 2030, according to the CAP.
Besides reducing GHG emissions, the plan also aimed to increase the County’s commitment to equity and justice, deliver economic benefits and improve health and wellness of all County residents, according to the office’s website.
Director of the Office of Energy & Climate Change Keith Reopelle said the County as a whole would benefit from these climate-mitigating strategies, according to the Cap Times.
“We will also stimulate the economy,” Reopelle said. “The solar will also have better health outcomes. We’ll have cleaner air, we’ll have cleaner water. If we do it right, we’ll be able to improve equity and justice in Dane County by focusing on those communities that are most vulnerable.”
As the state’s flagship institution, the University of Wisconsin will also contribute its part. According to an email to The Badger Herald, UW Director of Sustainability Missy Nergard said UW’s faculty, staff and students are grateful to all who participated in the process and will continue to serve as researchers and educators to implement these strategies.
Nergard said the plan also reflects the strength of the Madison community.
“[The CAP] includes a number of success stories … such as UW-Madison student Stephanie Salgado’s work with the Youth Climate Action Team of Wisconsin and the Youth Climate Action Rally,” Nergard said in the email. “It shows that, although we still have a long way to go, there are lots of people who are dedicated to our shared future.”
The plan was announced the day before Earth day, which was started 50 years ago by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson.
UPDATE: This article was updated April 22 at 4:41 p.m. to reflect comments from UW’s Office of Sustainability.