Dubuque recognized for efforts to address climate change


Dubuque has been declared a presidental disaster zone six times since 1999. (Wikimedia)
Flooding on the Mississippi River has caused Dubuque to be declared a presidential disaster zone six times since 1999. (Wikimedia)

Nick Fetty | December 9, 2014

Dubuque, Iowa was among 15 other local and tribal communities to be named Climate Action Champions by the White House last week.

Dubuque was recognized because of its Community Climate Action & Resiliency Plan which has set a greenhouse gas reduction goal of being 50 percent below 2003 levels by 2030. The plan – which examined Dubuque from 2003 to 2011 – traced emissions to four main sources: industrial (31%), residential (24%), transportation (23%), and commercial (17%), with the remaining 5 percent coming from the landfill methane.

The city hopes to further offset carbon emissions by further utilizing renewable energy sources. The report states that “solar and wind installations in Dubuque are expected to yield 10,000-30,000 mt (metric tonnes) of annual reductions by 2030.” Wind energy and other renewables generated 18 percent of electricity in Dubuque during the study in 2010.

In addition to efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Dubuque was also honored because of the city’s emphasis on flood-conscious infrastructure. Flooding on the Mississippi River has caused Dubuque to be declared a presidential disaster zone six times in the last 16 years so the city is now focused on mitigation efforts.

The Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project is a $179-million project that will focus on a 6.5 square mile district where more than half of the city’s population lives or works. The project aims to “both reduce the volume and slow the rate of stormwater in the upper watershed, provide safer conveyance of stormwater in flood-conducive areas, and protect the City’s wastewater treatment plant from stormwater.” Construction is expected to begin fall 2015 and be completed by 2016.

The Climate Action Champions were selected by representatives from the Department of Energy.

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