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Planning Tools



How local-level laws can protect trees during construction

By YCC Team 07/07/23
Large trees bring a lot of benefits to cities. They offer shade and local cooling and help reduce stormwater runoff. So they can help urban areas adapt to climate change.
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Bringing climate risk home, one property at a time

By Saul Elbein 04/26/23
By the time a homeowner who buys a house today pays off a typical mortgage, there is a good chance they will live in a different climate — one threatened by stronger winds, more frequent…
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Here’s a Policy Playbook You Can Use to Fight Climate Change

By John Dernbach and Joe DiMona 05/28/22
The gap between the scale of climate change action we need now and the climate change action we are witnessing from corporations and governments is growing. Earlier this year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…
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Decarbonizing cities – how to harmonize buildings, mobility and infrastructure

By Francesco Starace and Jean-Pascal Tricoire 01/11/21
An integrated approach is needed to fully decarbonize cities. Digitalization across buildings, mobility and energy infrastructure is key to achieving net zero carbon. Decarbonizing cities will not just benefit the environment, but also the jobs…
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Chicago Green Infrastructure: A History and Moving Forward

The pace of urbanization across the world has been impressive but as we look back today, a common trend is how often nature has been left out of our urban equations. As development expands, valuable…
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COVID-19 in an opportunity to build a Kansas City better prepared for climate change

By Tom Jacobs 07/08/20
In the Kansas City region, there is hope and resilience in the time of COVID-19. We stand on the shoulders of leaders and poets alike, clear that we will overcome current challenges, creating a new…
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Workshop Will Teach the Basics of Community Organizing

By Tara Stafford 07/06/20
n the midst of the numerous intersecting pandemics we are struggling to address — COVID-19, racism, and climate change — it can feel overwhelming to know how best to contribute toward meaningful change.
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How has Indianapolis responded to climate change?

By Anne Snabes 07/06/20
Over the course of six meetings, a new City-County Council commission will assess Indianapolis' response to climate change — and do so in a way that also embraces the concept of environmental equity.
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How Communities Can Adapt to Climate Change

By Ana Aceves 06/29/20
Climate change’s effects are already being felt today, so adapting will be necessary—and it doesn't have to hurt. Explore how building resilience can have a silver lining.
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Barnes Calls on Wisconsin to Tackle Climate Change

By Isiah Holmes 06/20/20
Next week the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change will hold two listening sessions — virtually — to hear how Wisconsinites are being affected by climate change, as well as soliciting ideas for solutions that…
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City reworks its Community Climate Plan through an equity lens

By Jessi Devenyns 06/09/20
Five years ago, Austin’s Office of Sustainability began implementing its 2030 Community Climate Plan in order to work toward the city’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
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Vermont Businesses Call For More Local Renewable Electricity

Businesses from all sectors of the economy wrote to lawmakers and government officials, expressing support for “a 100% renewable energy standard that supports significant expansion of renewable projects built in Vermont by Vermonters.”
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GHG Reduction Programs & Strategies

A wide range of strategies are available to help organizations reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Below are a list of resources and guides to help your organization identify and implement GHG reduction opportunities.

How solar power works

Solar energy is quickly becoming a more popular and affordable power source for homeowners and businesses. With residential solar energy, you can lower your carbon footprint and see substantial cost savings.

Implementing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act: A Virtual Roundtable Series

States and municipalities are learning from each other in a series of stunning webinars focusing on specific solutions. Although designed to illuminate New York’s 2019 landmark climate law, they are fascinating for everyone, experts and…

Take Action in Your Home, School, or Community

We believe that individual actions matter. Our actions can create ripple effects that inspire and motivate collective actions, moving us towards the systemic change we need to tackle an issue like climate change.

Report: City Power Play – 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy

The economy has stalled and so has the war on climate change. But dozens of cities are creating jobs and cleaner energy using their own power.


Communities are at the forefront of the energy transition: citizens are increasingly asking their cities to develop and act on ambitious plans, and community leaders are seeing the social, political, and economic benefits of doing…

Municipal Financing for Renewables and Efficiency

A growing number of states are enacting laws or have existing statutes that enable cities and counties to overcome one of the biggest obstacles to significant investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency—lack of access…

NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities

NYSERDA has identified ten high-impact actions that local governments can take to save money, foster a vibrant economy, and improve the environment. By completing four of the ten high-impact actions, the applying jurisdiction can earn…

Clean Energy Communities Grants – Remaining Awards

This dashboard provides regularly updated information on the number and amount of remaining grants in each region by community size. Select your region to view the grants available for your community. Grants are available to…

Clean Energy Programs

EPA’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs are designed to help energy consumers in all sectors, state policy makers, and energy providers by providing objective information, creating networks between the public and private sector and…

A Toolkit for Community Clean Energy Programs

Practical methods for community organizations to advance energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy.

Guide to Community Energy Strategic Planning

This guide introduces the Community Energy Strategic Plan (CESP) approach, a step-by-step process for creating a robust strategic energy plan for your government and community that can help save money, create local jobs, and improve…

Clean Energy Communities Program

Building a more sustainable New York starts with building more sustainable communities. Local governments affect energy choices in their communities, from government operations to homes, businesses, and community institutions.

Mass Energize

MassEnergize works with community organizers and local leaders to scale household and community-level climate actions. Our work is based on the belief that household-level climate action, propelled at scale, is critical for reaching our climate…

City of Ithaca Green New Deal

The Ithaca Green New Deal is a mission-oriented and collaborative approach to carbon neutrality by 2030. It represents a multi-year mobilization effort, aimed at altering the economy and enabling a new social contract, effectively redefining…

Model Laws for Deep Carbonization in the U.S.

This website provides more than 2000 model and actual federal, state and local laws that legislatures can customize and adopt in order to achieve deep reductions in fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.


Toolkit offers local governments a guide to harnessing clean energy

By Chris Hubbuch   03/11/20  
Agroup of environmental organizations is offering to help local governments in Wisconsin address climate change and save money through a guide it has published on clean energy initiatives.
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Ohio solar project will benefit low-income communities

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   03/11/20  
An innovative solar project in Toledo will do triple duty when it’s completed this spring. It will provide renewable power to a nearby axle factory. It will use otherwise unproductive land. And hundreds of thousands…
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Column: State must switch to clean energy

By Rep. Tram Nguyen   03/10/20  
Parts of my own district suffered terrible damage during the explosions and fires on Sept. 13, 2018, which resulted in the death of a young man, Leonel Rondon, tens of thousands of residents displaced, hundreds…
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Celebrating Peoria’s Clean Energy Future

By Celena Kyle and Neeti Jain   03/10/20  
We just celebrated a milestone in NRDC’s work to end illegal and deadly ash pollution from the E.D. Edwards coal-fired power plant near Peoria, Illinois. Had the plant’s owners invested in the modern pollution controls…
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Ameren Illinois unveils new plan to help Illinois reach 100 percent clean energy by 2050

By Chris Galford   03/09/20  
Ameren Illinois last week unveiled a plan to increase the production of lower-cost renewable energy through targeted investment in rural and underserved communities in an effort to move Illinois closer to reaching its goal of…
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Sustainable microgrids are the future of clean energy

By Alex Behrens   03/05/20  
Across the U.S., sustainable microgrids are emerging as a vital tool in the fight against climate change and increasingly common natural disasters. In the wake of hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires, the traditional energy grid in…
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Helena, Montana commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030

By Ashley Curtin   02/27/20  
“Today we fulfilled a responsibility to our present community and its future generations,” Mayor Wilmot Collins said. “We made long-term commitment to put the health and well-being of Helena and its citizens at the forefront…
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New online tool helps Michigan communities plan for renewable energy

By Alexandra Haddad and Jim Erickson   02/27/20  
Currently, more than half of Michigan’s 1,800-plus municipalities have considered renewable energy in their zoning ordinances. As utility-scale renewable energy expands, remaining communities will have a rich resource to help guide their new ordinances.
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Governor Cuomo Announces 30-Day Amendment to Accelerate Renewable Energy Projects and Drive Economic Growth as Part of Nation-Leading Climate Agenda

Legislation to Create Office of Renewable Energy Permitting. Office Will Streamline Process for Environmentally Responsible and Cost-Effective Siting of Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects Across the State
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