An update on Asheville, NC’s Climate Justice Initiative

In Jan. 2020, Asheville became NC's first city to formally declare climate change an emergency. I Photo by

During its Jan. 25 meeting, Asheville City Council heard an update on the Climate Justice Initiative, which was launched in response to the City’s passage of a climate emergency resolution in January 2020. Today, we’re bringing you an update on climate justice in the 828

What is climate justice?

Broadly speaking, it’s defined as the recognition that climate change can have adverse impacts on underprivileged populations. Local BIPOC community members define it as access to information, relationships, land, and resources needed to adequately respond to climate crisis events for marginalized communities

A look at the timeline 

The Climate Emergency Resolution, passed in January 2020, committed the city to “an equitable and just citywide mobilization effort to reverse global warming” and set 2030 as a target for eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions within city limits.

Since then, the city has also been working on creating a Climate Justice Plan as part of that resolution. Another goal of the plan? To consolidate all of the city’s existing sustainability plans.

The planning process has prioritized public input, especially from marginalized communities who are more susceptible to climate-related incidents like extreme temps + flash flooding

The highlights of the current plan

  • The creation of a Climate Justice Data Map to help the public to visualize and understand climate impacts. It also lets folks assess their neighborhood’s ability to navigate the effects of climate change.
  • The creation of a Climate Justice Guide + Screening Tool, which follows local guidance and supports staff in planning, implementation, and equitable decision-making.

What’s next

The City says it will determine next steps with local BIPOC communities and convene community stories in four neighborhoods, although it’s not clear what the timeline for this is. We’ll be sure to update you when we know.