Comprehensive Environmental & Climate Action Plan
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Dallas CECAP (and what is it not)?
The Dallas Comprehensive Environment & Climate Action Plan (CECAP) will create a comprehensive roadmap that outlines the specific activities that the city can undertake to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental quality in the city. It will build upon our understanding of the climate and other environmental challenges facing Dallas, existing efforts by the City and other stakeholders, information synthesized in the new City of Dallas greenhouse gas inventory, and with community input. The Plan will focus on activities that can achieve the greatest emission reductions and deliver the most benefits to communities most affected by climate change impacts.
Here are a few examples of similar plans from other Texas cities: Austin Community Climate Plan and San Antonio Climate Ready: A Pathway for Climate Action and Adaptation (in progress).
The intention of this plan is to not be a comprehensive plan, parks master plan or a strategic water plan. However, since the impact of climate change reaches various sectors, the plan will draw on elements from these sectors and help guide action related to them in the future.
What will the Dallas CECAP achieve?
The first and foremost concern of the Dallas CECAP is quality to life. The plan will focus on reducing impacts of climate change on the city as well as the impact of the city on the climate and at the same time creating co-benefits for the entire community.
The plan’s goals include:
- Prepare the community for the impacts of climate change.
- Create a healthier and more prosperous community by addressing climate change.
- Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- Encourage residents and business to take action!
Why is the city interested in creating a climate action plan?
The City of Dallas is committed to meeting the international emission reduction targets set by the Paris Agreement in 2016. Mayor Mike Rawlings signed the Mayors Climate Agreement and committed his support to meeting these targets.
“With no current state or federal action on climate change, it is apparent that local governments must shoulder the burden," said Mayor Rawlings in a statement. "The City of Dallas accepts this responsibility and is actively working towards building a greener, more resilient city. Addressing climate change should not be a controversial or partisan issue, and local leaders and the marketplace should work together in pursuing climate action."
“That’s why I am excited that we have approved funding for a Comprehensive Environmental Action Plan. The City’s Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability will have the resources and responsibility to chart a path of environmental and climate action for the coming years in alignment with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.”
Who are on the plan development team?
The project is led by the Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability. Through a competitive process, the team of AECOM technical services, Arredondo, Zepeda & Brunz, LLC and K Strategies, were selected as the consultants on this project.
How will the Dallas CECAP be developed?
The CECAP process includes a comprehensive public engagement process that specifically seeks to engage low-income communities of color, who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, yet are typically the least engaged in planning processes. We will host town hall style events across the city to understand what types of environmental challenges communities are facing and are most concerned about, and in the second round of input, what types of actions the community supports. Concurrently, we will document ongoing actions by reviewing past plans pertinent to the City’s priorities. These activities will inform Dallas’ CECAP vision for the future.
Based on the results of the plan and data review tasks, and stakeholder engagement, we will propose quantitative, sector-specific municipal and community goals aimed at enhancing the city’s environmental performance by a specific timeline. Where applicable, existing goals will be leveraged and built upon. Goals will be evaluated against C40’s Deadline 2020 guidelines, and in line with federal, state and international standards and best practices including the Paris Climate Agreement and the recommendations of ICLEI and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN).
Once goals go through review by stakeholders and are finalized, we will develop sector-specific community-based actions to make progress towards goals. We recognize the need for any proposed actions to pass an equity test, for example, any actions we propose to address extreme heat impacts in Dallas will prioritize areas such as West Dallas, which have the highest concentration of urban heat islands due to underlying socioeconomic inequities according to maps produced under the Smart Growth for Dallas project
The proposed actions will be reviewed by stakeholders and finalized based on their input. For the prioritized actions, we will develop a high-level profile that identifies lead agencies, qualitative co-benefits, implementation steps, high level community cost ranges, and progress metrics.
Throughout the process, input will be sought from a stakeholder advisory committee and an inter-departmental inter-agency planning Task Force.
What is the timeline for the project?
Dallas City Council approved the CECAP initiative in September 2018 and the project kicked off in February 2019. Six meetings across the city will take place in the two weeks following a Townhall at Earth X on April 27th. This process will inform the community’s direction and vision for the future. Between May to mid-September, the team will develop initial actions, based on the input received from the community. The team will share these initial ideas with the community in another round of meetings across the City in September. From October to January, the team will finalize actions, which will be synthesized into a living document the city and community can use to guide decisions. The plan is scheduled to be adopted by the city council mid-March 2020 and launched on April 22, Earth Day 2020!
How can I get involved
Come to our public meeting! If you can’t make it, take our online survey!
Sign-up to receive regular updates.
How does the CECAP relate to the Strategic Mobility Plan?
The City is developing its first-ever 5-Year Strategic Mobility Plan (SMP). This important document will establish a Strategic Vision for transportation in Dallas that emphasizes integrated transportation decision-making with housing, economic development, equity, and the environment.
The recommendations made in the SMP will play a significant role in meeting the GHG emissions reductions targets set by the CECAP. This will require a collaborative partnership between these concurrent efforts to ensure their goals are aligned. In addition, this project will explore climate specific topics (such as fuel switching) in transportation, which may not be central to the SMP.
What will active engagement with communities look like?
In addition to the formal community workshops, an online presentation and survey is available for those who cannot attend the workshops. Our targeted outreach with smaller groups (neighborhood groups, religious organizations, non-profits, etc.) will be consistent with the community workshops and utilize the survey to collect the same information.[LT1]
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In what ways is the city involving climate experts in this process?
We have climate experts on our project team and stakeholder advisory committee. Our emissions reductions targets will be consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a leading scientific body in the field of climate science.
How can people who aren't on a committe get more involved?
All material from community workshops will be available online (including the boards, a recorded presentation and the survey). Anyone can take the materials and share it with family, friends, coworkers and local organizations so that as a as many citizens as possible are included in the planning process.
If you would like to contact us directly, email us at email@example.com or call us at 214-670-1200.
How will the visions shared at this stage be incorporated in the final Climate Action plan?
Based on input from stakeholders and results of the plan and data review, the project team will work with the stakeholder advisory committee to articulate a community vision and propose quantitative, sector-specific municipal and community goals aimed at enhancing the city’s environmental performance by a specific timeline. These goals will provide a framework for the actions.
Can the city commit to policies and interventions that will reduce our community-wide emissions to net-zero by the year 2050 (consistent with the IPCC’s latest report)?
The City Council has directed the City to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, therefore the CECAP will lay out a road map for what steps the City will need to take in order to get there. More detailed implementation steps will be laid out for the next 5 years, with the understanding that the Plan will need to be updated on a regular basis, depending on performance achieved, how climate science evolves, how the Texas electricity grid decarbonizes etc.
How does the city plan to enforce the goals of the climate action plan?
(It will depend on the types of actions that are developed)
The City Council identified a carbon neutrality goal by 2050. The City will be monitoring the performance of the actions identified within the Plan to track the status of the actions as well as whether city emissions are reducing over time (through regular GHG inventory updates). The actions are likely to be a mix of policies (including mandates) and programs and incentives. The mandates will be enforceable. Incentives, programs are not enforceable per se, but the City will be encouraging participation by the community through outreach and education.
How will considerations of economic and racial justice influence planning?
We know that climate change will have the most impact on vulnerable communities including children, the elderly, low income communities, and in particular, communities of color. We are working to ensure that the voices of these communities are heard and included in the planning process. The plans actions will aim to address the needs of and provide benefits to those most burdened by climate impacts, yet with the least means to cope.
What is global warming?
The greenhouse effect is the way in which heat is trapped close to the surface of the Earth around the Earth, which keeps it toastier than it would be without them. Greenhouse gases by “greenhouse gases.” These heat-trapping gases can be thought of as a blanket wrappedinclude carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides.
Greenhouse gases arise naturally, and are part of the make-up of our atmosphere. Earth is sometimes called the “Goldilocks” planet – it’s not too hot, not too cold, and the conditions are just right to allow life, including us, to flourish. Part of what makes Earth so amenable is the naturally-arising greenhouse effect, which keeps the planet at a friendly 15 °C (59 °F) on average. But in the last century or so, humans have been interfering with the energy balance of the planet, mainly through the burning of fossil fuels that give off additional carbon dioxide into the air. The level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has been rising consistently for decades and traps extra heat near the surface of the Earth, causing temperatures to rise.
Source: NASA Global Climate Change
What is the difference between climate change and global warming?
“Global warming” refers to the long-term warming of the planet. Global temperature shows a well-documented rise since the early 20th century and most notably since the late 1970s. Worldwide, since 1880 the average surface temperature has risen about 1 °C (about 2 °F), relative to the mid-20th-century baseline (of 1951-1980). This is on top of about an additional 0.15 °C of warming from between 1750 and 1880.
“Climate change” encompasses global warming, but refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet. These include rising sea levels; shrinking mountain glaciers; accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic; and shifts in flower/plant blooming times. These are all consequences of the warming, which is caused mainly by people burning fossil fuels and putting out heat-trapping gases into the air. The terms “global warming” and “climate change” are sometimes used interchangeably, but strictly they refer to slightly different things.
Source: NASA Global Climate Change
What does climate change have to do with severe weather, like droughts and hurricanes?
A rise in global temperatures increases the severity and likelihood of storms, floods, wildfires, droughts and heat waves. In a warmer climate, the atmosphere can collect, retain and drop more water, making wet areas wetter and dry areas drier. Increased precipitation can help support agriculture, but more frequent and intense storms damage property, infrastructure, and lead to loss of life in vulnerable areas. Over the past few decades, the United States has experienced more heat waves and fewer cold waves.
Global warming also results in warmer oceans, making it easier for hurricanes to form; over the past 20 years, tropical storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico has increased in intensity, frequency, and duration.
It is very difficult for researchers to attribute a specific weather event to global warming. Nevertheless, climate scientists are confident that the higher temperatures we are experiencing are making extreme weather more likely, with all the costs that entails. From 2004 to 2014, the United States experienced 88 $1 billion weather events, for a total loss of $630.8 billion and 3,988 lives.
How does climate change affect my health?
Climate change endangers our health by affecting our food and water sources, the air we breathe, the weather we experience, and our interactions with the built and natural environments. As the climate continues to change, the risks to human health continue to grow.
Although every American is vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change, some populations are disproportionately vulnerable, including those with low income, some communities of color, immigrant groups (including those with limited English proficiency), Indigenous peoples, children and pregnant women, older adults, vulnerable occupational groups, persons with disabilities, and persons with preexisting or chronic medical conditions.
Why is climate change such a serious problem?
The Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.5°F over the past century, and climate scientists estimate it will rise another 0.5 to 8.6°F by the end of this century, depending, in part, on future emissions. That may not sound like much to worry about, since most of us experience much greater temperature changes over the course of a day or from season to season. But the global average temperature during the height of the last ice age was only 5 to 9°F cooler than it is today. Relatively small changes in the planet’s average temperature can mean big changes in local and regional climate, creating risks to public health and safety, water resources, agriculture, infrastructure, and ecosystems.
The following are some examples:
- Food, Energy, and Water Resources - Quality of life in the region will be compromised as increasing population, the migration of individuals from rural to urban locations, and a changing climate redistribute demand at the intersection of food consumption, energy production, and water resources.
- Infrastructure - The built environment is vulnerable to increasing temperature, extreme precipitation, and continued sea level rise, particularly as infrastructure ages and populations shift to urban centers.
- Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services - Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are being directly and indirectly altered by climate change.
- Human Health - Health threats, including heat illness and diseases transmitted through food, water, and insects, will increase as temperature rises.