Neighborhood flooded near Four Mile Creek in 2018

Why is Climate Action Important?

Des Moines is already facing the effects of climate change, including warmer temperatures and more frequent and severe flooding. These hazards are expected to worsen in the coming years, bringing more extreme temperatures, drought, intense storms, and flooding and threatening community health and safety, infrastructure, and Des Moines’ economy.

ADAPT DSM is intended to address these risks by developing solutions to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to rising temperatures, and to help the Des Moines community become more resilient to the climate hazards and risks they are already facing.

Climate Change Information & Tools

If you are interested in learning more about climate change forecasts, climate risks, climate justice and more, we recommend checking out these websites and tools:

How Will The Plan Be Organized?

The plan's goals and climate solutions will be structured around seven topic areas:
ADAPT DSM Focus Areas graphic

Project Timeline

The project includes four phases that begin with identification of climate risks and opportunities, then progresses to defining and refining climate action goals and solutions. Ultimately the plan will summarize climate action priorities, timelines and responsibilities. The final phase includes building broad community awareness of the plan and beginning implementation.

Phase 1
  • What climate risks and hazards do we face?
  • Who is most vulnerable?
  • What has worked/not worked previously?
Phase 2
  • Should we modify our goals?
  • What other goals and solutions should be considered?
  • What are the benefits and tradeoffs?
Phase 3
  • What's most important?
  • What resources are needed for success?
  • Who will do what, and when?
Phase 4
  • What is ADAPT DSM?
  • How will ADAPT DSM benefit Des Moines?
  • How can the community support implementation?

Project Roles & Responsibilities

Project Management

ADAPT DSM is being led by Jeremy Caron, the City’s Sustainability Program Manager with the support of City staff from City Manager’s Office, Facilities, Development Services, Engineering, Civil and Human Rights, Parks and Recreation, Finance, the Public Information Office and other City departments as required.

In January 2022, the City contracted with Brendle Group and RDG Planning and Design through a competitive procurement process to serve as the project consultants, providing project management, technical expertise, and engagement support.

Community Members & Organizations

A successful planning process relies on meaningful community involvement to ensure the plan reflects the community’s voice, values, and experiences. It is also the first step in successful plan implementation, which requires collective action from all segments of the community.

ADAPT DSM will include opportunities for all community members to get involved, as well as building close partnerships with Community Climate Allies who will help spread the word and ensure representation from diverse populations. To learn more about how you can participate visit the Engage webpage.

ADAPT DSM Steering Committee

ADAPT DSM is being developed under the leadership of a project Steering Committee. This Steering Committee serves to advise the planning process by providing their unique perspectives and ensuring the plan reflects the concerns and priorities heard during engagement.

ADAPT DSM Technical Advisory Group

The ADAPT DSM Technical Advisory Group was formed to ensure the plan is feasible and impactful. It includes multiple technical experts for each plan topic area who will be responsible for advising the DSM Steering Committee by providing their subject matter expertise.

Community Climate Allies

We are building a network of Climate Allies, to help us connect with Des Moines community members, especially those who are traditionally excluded in processes like this, and those who may be disproportionately impacted by climate change. We would like you to be a Climate Ally if you’re willing! Share your thoughts and ideas about who to reach out to and how to reach them.

City Council

The Des Moines City Council will be responsible for final review and adoption of ADAPT DSM. City Council will also be responsible for reviewing and approving future funding and staffing to support ADAPT DSM implementation.

Key Climate Action Terms

Here are some key terms to help build a common foundation of community understanding about climate action and its various components.

Key Term Definition
Climate Action Activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience and adaptation to climate-induced impacts.
Climate Adaptation Actions that help communities cope with the effects of climate change.
Climate Change Long-lasting changes in average weather conditions encompassing both increases and decreases in temperature as well as shifts in precipitation, severe weather events, and other features of the climate system, including changes accelerated by human activity.
Climate Equity Climate action that is inclusive of environmental justice and racial and economic equity. Equitable climate actions reduce disparate harms from the effects of climate change by prioritizing frontline communities. Equity is a conduit for climate justice.
Climate Justice A shift from a discourse on greenhouse gases and global warming into a civil rights movement with the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts at its core.
Climate Migration The movement of a person or groups of persons who, predominantly for reasons of sudden or progressive change in the environment due to climate change, are forced to leave their habitual place of residence, or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, within a state or across an international border.
Climate Mitigation Interventions to reduce the human impact on the climate system. Specific interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are commonly referred to as "emissions mitigation."
Climate Resilience The ability and extent to which systems can prepare and plan for, absorb, respond to, recover from, and adapt to the effects of climate-related shocks and chronic stressors.
Climate Risk Potential adverse consequences for humans and social, ecological, and economic systems resulting from the interaction of climate-related hazards that expose the vulnerabilities of societies and systems.
Climate Vulnerability The potential to be adversely affected by climate change due to geographic, social, economic, or other conditions. Reference to "vulnerable" populations is in the context of acknowledging system deficiencies, rather than judgement of individuals or their neighborhoods.
Frontline Community Population groups and/or areas that experience the first and worst consequences of climate change.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Gases in the atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation and significantly contribute to climate change. The primary greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.
Metric Tons Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MTCO2e) A unit of measure for greenhouse gas emissions. The unit "CO2e" represents an amount of a greenhouse gas whose atmospheric impact has been standardized to that of one-unit mass of carbon dioxide (CO2), based on the global warming potential (GWP) of the gas.