Earth Day News: City's Climate Action Efforts Move Forward

Press Release

DES MOINES, IOWA — April 22, 2021 — Mayor Frank Cownie, along with the City of Des Moines' Sustainability Program, today announced a new Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan that will guide the City’s sustainability efforts for years to come. Through the creation of this plan the City aims to chart a path forward that will reduce emissions, transition the City to renewable energy resources, stimulate and grow the local economy, create high-quality jobs, improve air quality, and reduce environmental impacts across the region, while demonstrating Des Moines' commitment to addressing climate change. 

“Earlier this week I joined 150 other mayors in the ICLEI Race to Zero,” said Mayor Frank Cownie. “We know that our efforts towards sustainability make the biggest impact when we work collectively, but we also know that we need the right tools to take action. Creating a climate action plan moves our City in that direction and I ask for your help to make this vision a reality.”

ICLEI is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes sustainable development and provides technical consulting to local governments to meet sustainability objectives. Mayor Cownie was recently elected president of ICLEI. 

The contract resulting from the RFP will secure a consultant to manage a nearly year and half long planning process that will engage the broader community, including a diverse group of stakeholders, technical advisors, and the public to identify and prioritize mitigation and adaption measures across the city.  

“We have led in providing an ambitious vision for climate action by passing a first-in-the-nation 24/7 clean electricity standard and setting a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Councilman Josh Mandelbaum. “Our leadership in these areas depends on how we implement these goals, and our Climate Action and Adaptation Plan is an important step.”

This plan will chart the course for how we achieve 24/7 carbon free electricity by 2035, and how we reach net-zero emissions by 2050.  From City operations, to actions our residents and businesses can take on their own, this plan will provide the tools and resources to help build a more resilient, healthy, and vibrant community, and ensure that the benefits of climate action accrue to all of us, including our most vulnerable residents and marginalized communities.

“This effort would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the Citizen’s Task Force on Sustainability,” Mayor Cownie said. “Through their continued advocacy for the City to lead by example the time to take action has arrived.”

Our work to address the challenges of a changing climate is just beginning. Local governments bear the brunt of climate change and its impacts. In Des Moines, we’ve seen extreme flooding and just last year, a derecho left many of our residents without power for over a week, leaving behind significant property damage and debris. Bold commitments like the one we’ve made in Des Moines, and the actions that follow them, like this planning effort, show how impactful local governments can be in enabling the transition to a more sustainable future.

Al Setka
Chief Communications Officer, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information.