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Iowa City declares “climate crisis” to prioritize reducing emissions

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – Iowa City City Council announced the city is in a “climate crisis” at its meeting Tuesday night. The declaration is meant to signify reducing carbon emissions is a priority for the city, as well as inspire more community action.

“It’s going to take the entire community, the businesses,” Councilwoman Pauline Taylor said.

Several members of the public spoke at the meeting, all in support.

“All the items you talked about tonight will not matter if we don’t have a planet to live on,” Iowa City resident Sheila Zeithamel said. “Thank you for listening to us.”

The city approved a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan last fall, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said targets like the city’s were not aggressive enough.

The city is now targeting a 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and to be at “virtual zero,” or a 100 percent reduction in emissions, by 2050.

“Our action tonight should be taken as an action that’s being taken in concert with other cities and nations,” Mayor Jim Throgmorton said.

Residents agreed that now, the hard work begins.

“I want to make sure it’s not just ‘lip service,'” Iowa City resident Liz Maas said.

Counselors also relayed their thanks to the students that walked out this past year, calling for climate action.

“I want to thank climate strikers and the students,” Councilman Rockne Cole said.

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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