Lincoln mayor announces initiative to develop climate action plan

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced a new initiative that could lead to the development of a Climate Action Plan for Lincoln.

On Thursday, Baird said she will appoint a Climate Resiliency Task Force to work on the year-long process, which will also include two public forums and other steps to encourage citizen input.

“We no longer have to imagine how severe weather events might impact our safety and security, our health, our economy, our infrastructure, and our quality of life,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said, citing the current flooding in central Nebraska and the historic flooding across the state this spring. “We know the time to act is now.”

Gaylor Baird said the Climate Action Plan will build on the work of the existing Lincoln Environmental Action Plan (LEAP) to create “common sense strategies that make our community more resilient.”

The initiative will be led by Verdis Group Senior Associate Kim Morrow, who recently developed a Climate Action Plan for Spearfish, South Dakota.

Morrow said cities across the U.S. are working on climate resiliency plans in the face of increasing extreme weather events.

“Today marks the day when we stop looking at a climate-altered future with fear, and instead embrace it with trust in our capacity to be resilient,” Morrow said. “We will work with an internal working group, a community task force, the Mayor’s Environmental Task Force and the public to develop relevant and actionable strategies that will make our city a regional leader in climate preparedness and sustainability.”

Morrow said the first phase of the project will involve gathering information about past sustainability work, climate hazards, demographics, emergency preparedness, and key indicators for Lincoln.

The second phase is an interactive planning process involving the public.

More information on the LEAP and the Mayor’s Environmental Task Force is available at green.lincoln.ne.gov.