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

Dane County Climate Action Plan

Dane County is a beautiful place to live and work. Climate change threatens our community's health and economic well-being. Working together, we can take the lead to reduce our climate impact and increase our resiliency, while improving the quality of life for all of our residents.

A rural farm scene in Dane County.

What is a Climate Action Plan?

A Climate Action Plan (CAP), provides evidenced-based measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preventative measures to address the negative outcomes of climate change. A CAP strategically maps out programs, policies, and projects that will enable a city, county, state, or organization to meet its climate goals.

Like a map, the CAP reflects the unique characteristics of the local economy, resource base, and political structure. It identifies the starting point (a baseline of greenhouse gas emissions), a destination (the goal for reducing emissions) and the best route to take (those programs, policies and projects that will be most effective). CAPs also need to be updated periodically to reflect changes and incorporate lessons learned.

What is Included in a Climate Action Plan?

  • An inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions by major type source (e.g. transportation).
  • A goal for emission reduction.
  • Predictions comparing emissions under different scenarios, including "business as usual."
  • A set of strategies to achieve the emission reduction goal.

What is OUR plan?


In 2017, Executive Parisi established both the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change (OECC) and the Dane County Council on Climate Change (Council) to further the county’s efforts to address climate change. At the first Council meeting, he directed the Council to develop a comprehensive Climate Action Plan that looks at the art of the possible and identifies where we want to be and how to get there. It will not be a report that just sits on a shelf. As a division within the County Executive’s Office, the OECC leads public and private efforts across the community to implement strategies to address climate change. 

A meeting of the Dane County Council on Climate Change in 2018.

From July, 2017 through March 2019, the OECC coordinated and directed the activities of the Council, as well several area-specific working groups, with the goal of developing a comprehensive Climate Action Plan.


This is an audacious goal: to create a climate action plan, based on science and evidence, that makes Dane County a national leader in deep decarbonization. Additional goals include:

  • The advancement of social equity.
  • Creation of jobs and economic development.
  • Improving the health and quality of life for all Dane County residents.
  • Reducing energy costs, which will increase energy security. 
  • Bringing rural and urban citizens and stakeholders together to support and respect each other’s roles in addressing one of the biggest challenges of our time.

What to Expect

The Dane County Council on Climate Change held its final meeting in March 2019 having approved the proposals and recommendations of the various working groups for inclusion in the Climate Action Plan. The CAP is expected to be completed and released in early 2020. 

Over the next few years, the Office of Energy & Climate Change will work to develop partnerships throughout Dane County in order to implement the plan. At some point in the near future, the CAP will need to be revisited and updated to reflect changes in technology and policy. 

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