24/7 carbon-free energy goal in Iowa City receiving broad support

Organizers of 100% Iowa City, a community-driven movement launched this spring to make Iowa City the next 24/7 carbon-free energy city, say the movement is gaining broad support.

The 100% Iowa City initiative urges the Iowa City Council to commit to a path towards 100% clean electricity.

After formally declaring a climate crisis in 2019, the Iowa City Council announced new emission targets, building on those established in its 2018 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. The targets include reduce carbon emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, then achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

100% Iowa City organizers, however, said the targets did not include an explicit clean energy goal. The initiative calls for the City of Iowa City to improve on its 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 by Des Moines in 2021, 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, in a release. “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. The letter of support will be delivered to the council at 6 p.m. today, during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, on behalf of the following groups:

  • 100 Grannies for a Livable Future
  • Astig Planning
  • A&W Sustainable Planning & Outreach
  • Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa
  • Common Good Iowa
  • C-Wise Design and Consulting LLC
  • Dotł’izhi
  • Dream City
  • Geoff’s Bike and Ski
  • Global Food Project of Iowa City
  • Great Plains Action Society
  • Green State Solutions
  • Integrated Power Corporation
  • Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
  • Iowa City Bicycle Library
  • Iowa City Environmental Advocates
  • Iowa City Green Drinks
  • Iowa Interfaith Power & Light
  • Neumann Monson Architects
  • Pani Clean, Inc.
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • Public Space One
  • Sierra Club, Iowa Chapter
  • University of Iowa Environmental Coalition

IEC energy staff is slated to meet with members of Iowa City’s Climate Action Commission at its May 2 meeting to discuss the goal and its pathway forward for Iowa City. The commission acts as an advisory board to the city council and is responsible for guiding the direction of the city’s climate and sustainability goals, including the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

“We appreciate city leadership recognizing the role local government can play in the clean energy transition and taking bold action,” said Elizabeth Wagner, an organizer with 100% Iowa. “This goal is the most genuine decarbonization commitment that local government can leverage to act on climate, and we look forward to Iowa City becoming the next 24/7 carbon-free energy city.”