Climate Action Plan Input Survey 
The city wants your feedback!

ACAT Organizing team

December 1, 2021

 

The Ames Climate Action Team (ACAT) encourages you to fill out the climate action plan target-setting survey released by the City of Ames this past week.

 

Over the past several months, ACAT has been promoting that Ames adopt a goal of 100% clean energy and citywide carbon neutrality by 2030. Below is some information and thoughts from ACAT’s organizing committee about how responses to this survey might align with this goal. Please feel free to refer to this information as it is helpful, and please also feel free to share this information with fellow Ames community members.  

What’s happened so far

The council is currently considering four scenarios for their climate action plan (CAP), these were revealed at the climate action plan steering committee meeting on Tuesday, November 16th. Each scenario lays out different emissions reduction targets. At their December meeting, the council will choose one of them as the climate action goal for Ames.

 

The consultants, Sustainability Solutions Group SSG (hired by the city to develop the CAP)  are now circulating a survey to determine which scenario is supported by the Ames community. The following information is meant to inform you about the different scenario options and survey questions as they relate to the Ames Climate Action Team’s current 2030 campaign.

 

Four Scenarios for Ames’ Climate Action Goal (as stated by SSG)

Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) says that all of the scenarios are considered science-based goals. To be a science-based goal, the scenario must be at least as aggressive as the emissions reduction recommendations published by the International Panel on Climate Change to keep warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels. The goal scenarios are:

  1. Science-based target (general): 45% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 (least ambitious target proposed).

  2. Federally-aligned target: 50-52% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 (moderate target).

  3.  Science-based target with a carbon budget and equity component. 83% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 (most ambitious target proposed).

  4. Determine a 2030 target at the end of the project by agreeing on the actions and pathway suitable for Ames first and then calculating the expected reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

 

Scenario Thoughts from the Ames Climate Action Team Organizing Committee

While the first three scenarios are in line with the IPCC, some goals are clearly more ambitious. Ames Climate Action Team has been advocating for a bold climate plan that establishes Ames as a climate leader.

 

Our group has pushed for a goal of citywide 100% clean energy and carbon neutrality by 2030. To us, the only scenario that reflects this sentiment is #3, the ambitious scenario: 83% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050

 

Scenario #3 has also been dubbed the “fair-share scenario” because it reflects the need for developed countries to use their resources to move the fastest towards carbon neutrality. In other words, this scenario incorporates an understanding of climate justice.

 

The short-term emissions reduction for each scenario is very important. The following charts from the consultants describe why this is. As you can see, the fastest emissions reduction results in significantly fewer cumulative emissions.

 

On the survey Q#4 there is also an option to select: None of these are aggressive enough.  It provides a text box to describe this answer. If you would like to select that option, you could write in “2030 Ames carbon-neutrality” as your explanation.

 

For more detail, you can review the extended information packet provided by the consultants, or an abbreviated version on our ACAT website under “By the Numbers” → “Four Climate Scenarios for Ames.

ACAT - best fit scenario survey Q4

ACAT will never tell you how to fill out a survey, but we did want to provide our perspective on which scenario best reflects our 2030 campaign. That scenario is #3, the scenario that commits Ames to 83 percent emissions reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2050.

 

ACAT - thoughts on the survey Q2 & Q3

SSG survey questions #2 and #3 ask you to rank a series of rather complicated choices. Unfortunately, the questions assume that there is a conflict between a desire for equity, a strong economy, etc. and aggressive climate action. If you don’t agree with that assumption, or if you want to go on record in favor of strong climate action, your first choice needs to be for the climate, even if you also feel strongly about other answers. The choices the organizing committee feel most closely capture our ACAT perspective are emissions reductions in Q#2 and co-benefits of emissions reductions in Q#3.

 

Take action

 

We hope this was informative in helping you fill out the survey. Please fill out the survey at your earliest convenience, and no later than December 10, 2021. Reach out to us if we can provide any additional support, and please encourage other community members to fill out the survey as well (and feel free to share this email with them!). Thank you!