Local Climate Action Planning Initiative: Launched Fall 2021
The Schar School of Policy and Government, Center for Energy Science and Policy, is proud to announce the Local Climate Change Planning Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to develop climate change action plans for local Virginia governments throughout the entire state, with particular emphasis on environmental justice communities. The initiative will result in empowering local governments with the capability to reduce climate change impacts, increase energy efficiencies, and create more resilient communities.
This initiative aligns with Virginia government commitments on climate action and clean energy, such as found in the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act, the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act (directing the Commonwealth to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), executive orders on environmental justice and community outreach, and the Transportation and Climate Initiative. This initiative also supports transitioning Virginia’s local workforce into clean energy and energy efficiency jobs.
The Local Climate Change Planning Initiative has three phases. First, the initiative plans to work with local governments and communities to collect greenhouse gas emissions data to better understand each communities’ baseline emissions. Then, the initiative plans to work with local government leaders and community members to develop action plans specifically designed for each community. Finally, the initiative plans to assist communities with project implementation.
“One of the key ingredients in this initiative is the advantage of embedding students within communities in all three phases,” said Professor Paul Bubbosh, co-director of the initiative. “The Mason students work closely with community and government leaders, and this serves as a learning experience in local government policy development, greenhouse gas modeling, and climate change project development and implementation,” said Professor Bubbosh.
The Schar School is a nationally recognized academic leader in public administration academic programs and excels at preparing its students to be leaders and managers who solve real-world problems and advance the public good in all sectors and levels of government. “This project will be managed by professors with local government experience to ensure students gain the applicable skills and the practical knowledge to work with local government agencies and the public, develop public policies and programs, create innovative consulting solutions, and provide expert policy analysis,” said Professor Joel Hicks, co-director of the initiative.
The Center for Energy Science and Policy will partner with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI USA, Local Governments for Sustainability), to implement this project. ICLEIA USA is an organization with over 30 years of experience working with over 600 U.S. local governments in developing baseline greenhouse gas inventories and local climate action plans. ICLEI USA standards and software tools are the most widely used for local climate action plans. It has successfully partnered with other U.S. universities to develop GHG inventories and climate action plans throughout the country.