24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Goal in Iowa City Receives Broad Support
Originally posted on April 18, 2022, in News
IOWA CITY — 100% Iowa City, a community-driven movement to make Iowa City the next 24/7 carbon-free energy city launched this spring to urge the City Council to commit to a path towards 100% clean electricity.
After formally declaring a climate crisis in 2019, the City Council announced new emission targets, building on those established in its 2018 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan: reduce carbon emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, then achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Notably absent amongst these targets is an explicit clean energy goal.
The 100% Iowa City initiative calls for the City of Iowa City to improve on these goals by adopting a resolution to reach community-wide 24/7 carbon-free electricity by 2030. While the existing net-zero goal would reduce emissions and then compensate for the remaining using carbon offsets, a 24/7 carbon-free energy goal would avoid emitting carbon in the first place—a goal first adopted in early 2021 by Iowa’s capital city, Des Moines, followed by other cities across the country.
The campaign has received support from individuals, businesses, and organizations in the community as the initiative moves forward with city leaders. “We must act fast and make bold commitments to provide a livable future for our children and grandchildren,” said Deb Schoelerman, a member of 100 Grannies for a Livable Future. “This resolution is a promise to future generations and can strengthen our community’s role as a climate leader.”
The grassroots effort—spearheaded by the Iowa Environmental Council’s 100% Iowa project—represents a broad coalition of residents, businesses, and organizations across Iowa City. To date, twenty-five local businesses and organizations have signed on in support of the goal.
Misinformation is derailing renewable energy projects across the United States
Opposition to large-scale clean energy projects has grown considerably in the past few years.
IEC has experienced several examples of misinformation in conversations and meetings around Iowa. These include claims of negative health effects from living near wind turbines, reduced home values, pollution from solar panels, and other 'facts', often lacking research to back up their claims.
"The opposition comes at a time when climate scientists say the world must shift quickly away from fossil fuels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But 60% of U.S. electricity still comes from carbon-based fuels." Read the article here.
Patchwork of Local Carbon Free Pledges Takes Shape in Iowa
100% Iowa recently announced 100% Waterloo — a community-led initiative aimed at reaching 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. A parallel effort is underway in Iowa City.
Jordan Oster, IEC's energy outreach manager, spoke about the initiatives in a recent interview. He said he hopes this movement picks up steam amid broader debates about how to address climate change.
"When climate action is ignored at the state level and stalled at the federal level, local governments can be leaders in this space." Local activity can put greater pressure on utilities to completely ditch fossil fuels. Read the full interview here.
Facing Down Climate Change: Changing Fear to Hope and Action
Last month, the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued the latest segment of the Sixth Assessment Report. The report talks of action and hope, yet it gave one clear message: we must dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels in the next eight years to maintain a livable climate for the next generation.
IEC's communications director Angelisa Belden reflects on the report in her latest blog post. "The IPCC report and other climate news can be uncomfortable to face. I am afraid for my children, yet inspired by the opportunities I know exist if we only have the willingness to be open," she writes. Read the full blog post here.
Watch Now: Energy Equity in Iowa, An Indigenous Perspective
The Energy Ratepayer Bill of Rights states firmly that Iowans need energy to survive and thrive. As clean energy resources increase, Iowa’s energy ratepayers must be afforded equitable and inclusive access to the benefits of a clean, efficient, and resilient energy system.
Sikowis Nobiss, Founder & Executive Director of the Great Plains Action Society based in Iowa City, joined 100% Iowa for a conversation regarding equity in Iowa's energy system. Watch the full interview on 100% Iowa's YouTube channel.
Tell Des Moines City Leaders to Demand a Short-Term Franchise Agreement from MidAmerican Energy
When the Des Moines City Council passed a resolution committing to a community-wide 24/7 carbon-free electricity goal by 2035, they were committing to the policies and incentives necessary to achieve this goal. One critical policy that affects the success of this resolution is the upcoming renewal of the agreement with MidAmerican Energy to use city right-of-way to provide electrical service, called a franchise agreement.
MidAmerican Energy is ignoring the residents and businesses in Des Moines who supported climate action through a strong and serious 24/7 carbon-free energy resolution and refusing to make a reasonable agreement with city leaders.
Des Moines Residents: You can help by telling Des Moines City Council members you support a 3-year franchise agreement to ensure the city and the utility remain on track to achieve Des Moines’ climate goals.