Wednesday, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced the Climate Forward agenda to reduce carbon emissions for the city.
According to the City of Madison website, Climate Forward is an initiative to reduce carbon emissions in the city and support green job creations in Madison. Specific goals include adding thousands of LED bulbs to streetlights, adopting electric buses and training people in underprivileged communities to install solar panels and plant trees.
The Climate Forward agenda includes initiatives to make new rental housing more energy efficient to reduce environmental and financial costs.
Sustain Dane Executive Director Claire Oleksiak said in the press release existing affordable housing uses 33% more energy on average than older housing because affordable housing units are typically older.
According to the press release, Rhodes-Conway is also working with Madison Alders Tag Evers and Syed Abbas to make commercial buildings — which contribute to nearly one-third of Madison’s emissions — more energy-efficient.
According to his website, Evers serves on the Sustainable Madison Committee.
“We have lofty goals to transition all city-owned infrastructure and vehicles to 100% renewable energy and net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2030,” Evers said. “The clock is ticking.”
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The 2011 Madison Sustainability Plan shared similar goals to those expressed in the Climate Forward agenda. One of the goals stated in the plan was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% between 2010 and 2050.
Deputy Mayor Christie Baumel worked with Madison’s government for several years on climate and sustainability issues. Baumel said she worked with the mayor and her staff to come up with environmental priorities for the Climate Forward agenda.
Baumel said cost is always a barrier for individuals trying to be more eco-friendly. People often find it difficult to finance things like solar power for their homes.
“We’re pretty hopeful right now, with such a strong focus from the federal government that we’ll have the opportunity to seek grant funding and develop some of the resources that will help us go further faster,” Baumel said.
Baumel also said severe storms and flooding present a unique challenge to Madison and flooding doesn’t only affect Madison residents but also lake ecosystems around the city.
“We want to make sure that climate action is happening across the entire community and benefitting everybody and we’re going to do what we can as city government to make that happen,” Baumel said.