Government

Linn County supervisors declare climate crisis; Stacey Walker will lead march on City Hall

Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker speaks during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris Building in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker speaks during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris Building in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — With Iowa experiencing “frequent” 500-year flooding, weather-related losses of agricultural production and declines in pollinators and bird populations, the Linn County Board of Supervisors has declared a climate crisis.

The resolution adopted Tuesday commits the county to accelerated action to address climate change and environmental sustainability and resource protection. The overall goal is for the county to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions in 2050.

Adopted unanimously by board Chairman Stacey Walker and Supervisors Ben Rogers and Brent Oleson, the climate crisis declaration comes ahead of Friday’s climate march led by Walker.

Walker and Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Kimberly Graham will lead a climate march from Raygun, 1028 3rd St. SE, to Cedar Rapids City Hall to call for a climate crisis declaration.

“No one politician or government can address climate change alone, but all of us can do something,” Walker said. “In the end, it will be the collection of our acts — the small and the big — that will give us a fighting chance of leaving a healthy planet for generations to come.”

Sunrise Cedar Rapids, Sunrise Dubuque and CR Climate Strikers have organized the march that will begin at 5 p.m. at NewBo City Market, 1028 Third St. SE. Graham, who has been endorsed by Sunrise, will speak.

The supervisors’ resolution follows on the county’s commitment to sustainability through its efforts including high energy efficiency standards in construction projects, encouraging the use of alternative and renewable energy and promoting personal health in the county strategic plan, according to the supervisors.

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Linn County received a Gold designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. Linn County also is designated a Small Wind Innovation Zone by the Iowa Utilities Board.

In declaring a climate crisis, the supervisors committed to decrease countywide carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030. In addition, by 2050:

• Reduce methane and black carbon emissions by 35 percent;

• Increase renewables to account for 100 percent of electricity generation;

• Zero out coal-generated electricity;

• Decrease industry carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent;

• Increase the transportation sector’s share of low-emission final energy by 65 percent.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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