Detroit, Michigan Climate Action Plan

The Detroit Action Plan provides an accessible introduction to climate change, an overview of the expected trends and impacts in Detroit, and strategies for mitigating emissions and preparing for climate risks. In 2011, the nonprofit Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice convened the Detroit Climate Action Collaborative (DCAC) that brought 27 organizations together to collectively envision the strategy presented in this plan.

The plan grounds its recommendations in a vulnerability assessment - and analysis done by partner organizations assessing climate emissions in the city, and current trends. These find that Detroit is seeing warmer temperature and that trend will continue. Air quality risks, increasing precipitation, and inland flooding are also projected to become greater hazards.

Environmental justice was addressed through the collaborative process that supported its development. In addition to relying on the DCAC, the process also leveraged learnings from various youth summits. 

The plan also discusses some of the disproportionate impacts of climate change. It points out that 41% of emissions are concentrated in 4 zip codes.

In addition, some of the goals suggest prioritizing investments in low-income areas. For example, the goal to prioritize investments in green infrastructure is meant to lower the cost of water in the City, which is a major cause of concern among low-income households that face water shut-offs. 

The strategies and goals are categorized into five categories:

  • Solid Waste
  • Public Health
  • Businesses & Institutions
  • Parks, Public Spaces, & Water Infrastructure
  • Homes & Neighborhoods

For each, the plan outlines the major climate risks to that sector, a broad overview of the solution, a few barriers to success, and a list of goals that can support the solution. Each goal includes a description of near-term and long-term actions steps, indicators for success, and methods for assessing progress on that goal.

For example, in the Parks section, the plan identifies the goal of increasing “the resilience of ecosystem services” by protecting some of the 40 square miles of open space as areas for recreation, flood management, and to offset the heat island effect. Near term action includes establishing a citywide ecosystem services inventory and implementing the city’s open space plan. Long-term actions include providing access to diverse recreational opportunities and designating ecologically important areas as permanent natural features. Indicators for success include an expanded no-mow zone and more signage explaining these zones. Methods for assessment including using data from the ecosystem services inventory and reports from the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department.


Publication Date: October 24. 2017

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