Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change

Dane County Climate Action Plan

A rural farm scene in Dane County.

What is a Climate Action Plan?

A Climate Action Plan (CAP) provides a science-based strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address ways the climate is already changing. Many states, cities, and counties are creating Climate Action Plans in order to better understand their own baseline emissions and develop a path toward decarbonization.

In 2020 Dane County published our own Climate Action Plan: Today's Opportunity for a Better Tomorrow: 2020 Dane County Climate Action Plan. The CAP sets forth an ambitious set of climate goals for Dane County and lays out programs, policies, and projects that will enable the County to meet those goals. Using established best practices for carbon accounting, our CAP quantifies the county’s baseline emissions and from there sets future emission goals. Most important, the CAP focuses on programs, policies and projects that will be most effective in meeting those goals. The resulting CAP is our roadmap to determine how to best to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Our CAP is a path toward sustainability, not just for county government but also the business community, homeowners, and other local governments. This CAP will be updated periodically to reflect changes and incorporate lessons learned.

What is Included in the Climate Action Plan?

A Path to Deep Decarbonization

Dane County has created a science-based plan to achieve deep decarbonization that is consistent with the latest recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Under the CAP we aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% county-wide by 2030 and put the county on a path to be carbon-neutral by 2050.  

Addressing climate change is an important opportunity to rethink how we live and work. In addition to reducing emissions, our Climate Action Plan aims to:

  • Increase the County’s commitment to equity and justice
  • Deliver economic benefits to all parties
  • Improve health and wellness of all residents
  • Increase our ability to adapt and be resilient to a changing climate
  • Bridge the rural and urban divide, creating solutions that work for everyone in the county
  • Enhance our natural environments, delivering ecosystem benefits

These are ambitious goals but we are confident we can achieve these objectives working together across all of Dane County.

Download the Climate Action Plan

Use the link below to download Dane County's Climate Action Plan.

Boy running through sprinkler, 2020 Dane County Climate Action Plan


The CAP provides a science-based pathway to cut countywide emissions in half by 2030, putting Dane County on a path to carbon neutrality by 2050. 

What Happens Next?


Our CAP outlines strategies for reducing all emissions in the County, which means it's important that we get everyone involved. A central goal of our work is to collaborate with partners and stakeholders across the county to help us achieve our emission goals. You can learn more about upcoming opportunities to participate in discussions and events related to the Climate Action Plan with our calendar of events.


The CAP includes more than 100 recommendations for policies and programs that can reduce emissions. We are working with partners such as businesses, local units of government, utilities, and community groups to implement these recommendations. Watch our Initiatives page to learn about new programs.

Monitoring Progress

As we implement the CAP it's important that we track our progress. We'll want to increase efforts that are working well and make adjustments where we aren't seeing the results we anticipated.

Modeling the outcomes projected in the CAP we found that we could achieve a 50% reducton in emissions by 2030. We want to be sure we're on track with that projection. Learn more about our efforts to monitor progress on the CAP.

Updating the Climate Action Plan

As is the case with any plan, we will need to update the Climate Action Plan periodically based on new opportunities and changing circumstances. We anticipate doing a full update to the CAP every 4-5 years and we expect to continually make minor adjustments.

How You Can Help

A great source of new ideas are Dane County stakeholders are people like you. If you've an idea for us--a policy to consider, or perhaps an opportunity for reducing emissions associated with a specific group or activity--please share that idea! Our efforts will be successful only insofar as we engage people and ideas from all across Dane County. 

Thank you to the Council on Climate Change

This CAP could not have been created without the input of the Dane County Council on Climate Change, which worked closely with the Office of Energy and Climate Change on its creation.

The Council was made up of business leaders, representatives of the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute, local utilities, equity and environmental advocates, as well as local government officials from across the county. The Council’s recommendations demonstrate that deep decarbonization can be achieved in a just and equitable way, result in major economic and health benefits county-wide, and provide energy security, while bridging the County’s rural and urban communities.

Dane County Council on Climate Change Members
  • 1000 Friends of WI
  • Alliant Energy
  • Azar Law LLC
  • BIOFerm Energy Systems
  • Citizens Utility Board of WI
  • City of Fitchburg
  • City of Madison
  • City of Middleton
  • City of Monona
  • City of Sun Prairie
  • Clean Fuel Partners
  • Clean Wisconsin
  • Dane County Emergency Management
  • Dane County Office of Equity and Inclusion
  • Derr Farms
  • Exact Sciences
  • Fiskars
  • Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
  • H & H Energy Services
  • Ho-Chunk Nation
  • Home Savings Bank
  • IBEW Local 2304
  • Krupp General Contractors
  • Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • Madison Gas & Electric
  • Public Health Department of Madison & Dane County
  • RENEW Wisconsin
  • Sierra Club
  • SunPeak
  • Sustain Dane
  • Urban League of Madison
  • UW Health
  • UW Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
  • Wisconsin Energy Institute
  • Wisconsin Institute on Climate Change Impacts
  • WPPI Energy
  • YWCA of Madison