IN Focus: Indy unveils ambitious climate change plan

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The City of Indianapolis released a first-of-its kind plan to address climate change, symbolizing a growing trend among cities nationwide that are not waiting for action from the federal government.

The 90-page report gives examples of how climate has already changed in the Circle City, challenges the city faces and dozens of action plans to implement in the coming years.

“The big focus is going to be on our buildings and transportation sectors,” said Katie Robinson, the Director of Sustainability for the City of Indianapolis.

The draft, which officials released online Monday, will be open for public comment through Dec. 26. A public hearing is also scheduled for Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Eastern Star Church in Indianapolis.

Click here to submit comments.

Public meeting on climate change plan
Thursday, Nov. 29
6-8 p.m.
Eastern Star Church
5750 E. 30th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46218

In coming years, scientists predict hotter summers, more precipitation and severe flooding in Indiana, which the report said will put residents and the city’s infrastructure at risk.

To combat that, the plan has outlined 16 objectives and 64 “ambitious but achievable actions” to accomplish by 2025 and more broadly achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The plan includes:

  • New buildings meet green building standards
  • 20% of energy consumed citywide comes from renewable sources by 2025
  • Energy grid upgraded to be more resilient to shocks and stressors
  • Reduce food insecurity, increase purchasing locally-grown food
  • Expand green spaces and trees
  • Increase electric vehicle ownership 300% by 2025
  • Convert remaining IndyGo fleet to electric by 2031
  • Provide universal curbside recycling to all residents by 2025

"We're all in this together," Robinson said. "We all have to make some adjustments in our daily lives."

The plan comes just days after a new federal report outlined dramatic economic consequences if climate change isn't addressed seriously nationwide, a prediction President Donald Trump said Monday he doesn't believe.

"Yeah, I don't believe it," the president said.

Indianapolis is one of 20 cities that is about to receive grant money as part of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge through Bloomberg Philanthropies, a $70 million effort nationwide to assist cities with climate change initiatives. Indianapolis will receive $2.5 million and assistance over the next to years to help implement the city's plan.

"I would say there has been consistent science related to the topic of climate change," Robinson said. "And it is the responsibility of cities at this point to roll up their sleeves and get to work."

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