Cuyahoga County Plans For Climate Change

A solar panel, part of a new Cuyahoga County solar project in Brooklyn [Elizabeth Miller/ideastream]

Cuyahoga County will begin planning meetings this week to figure out the best ways to combat climate change.

Mike Foley, the County’s Director of Sustainability, says local governments are stepping up, especially after the President’s decision to opt out of the Paris climate accord last year. And Foley adds, adapting to climate change will help in building the area for the future.

“It helps us both in being ready and being prepared, but it puts us ahead of other communities that aren’t doing this,” said Foley. “The smarter we are about climate change, the more competitive it makes us as a region.”

The county will break down climate change strategies into five groups focused on energy, water, transportation, land use, and health.

In addition to the county’s Sustainability office, the County Planning Commission has also played a role. Daniel Meaney says the agency has compiled data showing the effects of climate change on the county.

“We’re going to have to be prepared for more extreme weather,” said Meaney. “We need to be prepared for increasing frequency of storms.”

In addition to a Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption Plan, the county will also use the meetings to set a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Meetings with local stakeholders including residents, businesses and government leaders will continue throughout the summer, with a plan to issue an interim report by September.

Cuyahoga County will work closely with the city of Cleveland on this project.  Cleveland created its own climate action plan in 2013, and is in the midst of updating it.

“We’re lucky the city of Cleveland has worked on this before,” said Foley. “We’re trying to follow their template as much as possible.”

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