As the planet continues to warm, Milwaukee, like many American cities, faces the increasingly catastrophic effects of climate change. Milwaukee also has pronounced racial disparities that are exacerbated by this climate crisis. Confronted with the climate emergency and persistent economic disparities, Milwaukee recognizes an opportunity to simultaneously address both of these pressing issues that continue to plague the region. In 2019, the City and County of Milwaukee created the City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity, charged with reducing racial and income inequality by assuring that greenhouse gas reduction investments and policies will create the maximum number of permanent living wage green jobs for people who live in Milwaukee neighborhoods with limited economic opportunity. In March 2020, the Task Force released a preliminary climate action plan and throughout 2021, community working groups further outlined ‘ten big ideas.‘ These identified solutions address a cascade of challenges brought on by climate change and racial inequities.
The Task Force is now looking to push the work forward, accelerating the integration of this gathered input into the draft plan in hopes of forming a final plan by the summer of 2022. With this context in mind, the City of Milwaukee will partner with FUSE Corps to finalize a draft of the comprehensive Climate and Equity Plan, supporting its adoption through City’s Common Council and County Board. The FUSE Executive Fellow will conduct deep community engagement, ensuring residents from each neighborhood are effectively engaged in a second review process and implement priority recommendations, such as developing a green jobs accelerator and working with a national coalition to further develop a commercial building decarbonization plan. This work will ensure that the city can deliver on its ambitious climate and equity goals, building a resilient Milwaukee for generations to come.