Charleston's Climate Action Plan was adopted in May 2021 and is a 5-year strategic framework to reduce carbon pollution. It includes 12 strategies and 51 action items for the City of Charleston and the entire community to pursue over the next 5 years which will put us on a path to reduce emissions 56% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.
The strategy highlights the many different ways to reduce emissions while also improving our quality of life- such as cost savings, improved mobility and increasing climate adaptation. It also reflects the latest science, aligns with national and international industry standards, is synergistic with other City plans, and emphasizes the importance of ongoing, equitable community engagement.
In fall 2020, the City began the public engagement process to update Charleston's Climate Action Plan in an equitable way. Throughout winter 2020, 6 different volunteer community working groups met over 30 times to develop and discuss content for the new plan. On May 11, 2021, City Council unanimously adopted the plan after receiving a unanimous recommendation from the Resiliency and Sustainability Advisory Committee on April 15, 2021.
A Multi-Faceted Approach to Addressing Climate Change
The Climate Action Plan is focused on addressing the root cause of climate change, carbon pollution. The City also has plans that help us better adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as our Flooding and Sea Level Rise Strategy and our All Hazards Vulnerability and Risk Assessment. Together, these strategies form a holistic resilience plan for the City of Charleston that tackles both mitigation and adaptation components of addressing climate change.
A Plan By the People, For the People
The Charleston community showed passion for taking climate action by volunteering time and sharing their input. More than 1,000 perspectives were shared via working groups, surveys and community meetings which all helped shape the final strategy. Working groups specifically consisted of over 150 community members who volunteered their time and expertise. Each group met virtually about twice per month from fall 2020 to spring 2021 to create the content for the action plan.
Each committee had a diverse group of representation, including residents, business owners, developers, designers, stakeholder groups, technical experts, elected officials and City staff. There was a main Climate Action Plan Taskforce that oversaw the process and plan content and made recommendations to the Resiliency and Sustainability Advisory Committee, and 5 subcommittees that dove deeper into focus areas and made recommendations to the taskforce.
Education and Community Engagement
When the action plan was considered at public meetings of the Resiliency and Sustainability Advisory Committee and City Council, dozens of community members showed support for the plan by speaking up or submitting written comments. The Climate Action Plan is truly a community-driven strategy, which is important for successful implementation. Everyone contributes to creating carbon pollution to some extent and so government action can't meet emissions goals alone. We need the entire community to be part of the solution- having the community engaged and supportive of the plan is an important first step towards taking community-wide climate action.
View the Climate Action Plan Community Meeting: March 2021
As part of the public comment period for the draft Climate Action Plan, the Resilience and Sustainability Office held a virtual community meeting to present the draft Climate Action Plan, seek feedback and address comments and questions from the public.
If you weren’t able to join us, you can re-watch a recording of the meeting!
Feedback received was incorporated into the final Climate Action Plan. The March 2021 survey results are available here.
2010 Charleston Green Plan
On February 23rd, 2010 City Council received (not adopted) the Charleston Green Plan. At the same time, City Council also created the current Resiliency and Sustainability Advisory Committee to oversee initiatives where ordinances or funding are involved. Because it was not officially adopted, funding and resources were not allocated to implement the 2010 Green Plan, although some of the actions listed in it were successfully implemented if they were highly prevalent in other City plans.