WEST LAFAYETTE — The City of West Lafayette will spend the year developing a climate action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as one of eleven communities selected to be a part of Indiana University’s second Resilience Cohort.

The City of West Lafayette began its participation with the 2020 Resilience Cohort in January and has already received training on the climate action planning process. The West Lafayette government is using the results of the community-wide greenhouse gas inventory conducted last summer to identify strategies the community can use to achieve emissions reductions. The program will provide guidance and training through the end of December 2020.

West Lafayette officials plan to engage local residents and key community stakeholders to incorporate public input in the plan. Public meeting dates and locations are forthcoming.

A climate action plan is a fundamental step for Hoosier cities and towns committed to protecting their communities from heavier rainfalls in spring and winter, more river and flash floods and more freeze-thaw events that lead to potholes, among other impacts. The finished plan will provide West Lafayette with a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

“Creating a plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while addressing how we adapt to the climate changes already occurring is truly in the spirit of the climate resolution our City Council passed last year,” said Mayor John Dennis.

The Resilience Cohort was established in 2019 by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative. The 2019 Cohort guided 14 Indiana communities through the process of completing a community-wide greenhouse gas inventory. The 2020 Cohort is made up of 11 Indiana cities and towns that will develop their climate action plans this year. As part of the Cohort, West Lafayette has access to technical resources, a peer network, and training through ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, a nonprofit that specializes in helping local governments with emissions management and climate action.

“We are thrilled that West Lafayette has decided to take the important step of developing a climate action plan,” said ERI Director Janet McCabe. “Once adopted, the plan will provide a tailored roadmap to reduce local sources of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In addition to lowering the community’s climate impact, implementing the plan will lead to immediate community benefits like green jobs, lower utility bills, improved air quality, and better government bond ratings.”

The City of West Lafayette anticipates that a draft of the plan will be complete by September 2020. The draft will be submitted to the City Council for review and consideration in the fall.

Other Resilience Cohort participants include Carmel, Elkhart, Evansville, Fishers, Fort Wayne, Gary, Goshen, Michigan City, Richmond, and Zionsville.

About the Prepared for Environmental Change initiative:

The Indiana University Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative brings together a broad, bipartisan coalition of government, business, nonprofit and community leaders to help Indiana better prepare for the challenges that environmental changes bring to our economy, health and livelihood. Announced in May 2017, Prepared for Environmental Change is working to deliver tailored and actionable solutions to communities across the state of Indiana. Learn more at eri.iu.edu.