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

Dane County Climate Action Plan

Businesses, local governments and other entities across Dane County came together to create Today's Opportunity for a Better Tomorrow: 2020 Dane County Climate Action Plan our Climate Action Plan (CAP). Learn more about the entities supporting the County's 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 to address ways the climate is already changing. Our CAP lays out programs, policies, and projects that will enable Dane County to meet its climate goals.

Like a map, the CAP 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). Like any other plan, our CAP will be updated periodically to reflect changes and incorporate lessons learned.

What is Dane County's 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 (IPCC). The term deep decarbonization means we aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45% by 2030 and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. 

Addressing climate change is an opportunity to rethink how we do all kinds of things. In addition to reducing emissions our CAP 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. We are confident we can achieve these objectives working together across all of Dane County.

Download the CAP

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

Cover of Climate Action Plan

Dane County's 2020 Climate Action Plan

Today's Opportunity for a Better Tomorrow: 2020 Dane County Climate Action Plan (the CAP) includes: 

  • message from County Executive Joe Parisi,
  • context-setting introduction from the Ho Chunk Nation,
  • updated climate projections from Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts scientists,
  • over 100 policy and program recommendations associated with energy use, transportation, agriculture and clean energy, and
  • analysis on how those actions will reduce our emissions.

In short, the CAP delivers a science-based pathway to deep decarbonization, specific to Dane County and its stakeholders.

Download Dane County's Climate Action Plan Learn More About the CAP


What Happens Next?

The Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change is already working with various stakeholders across the county to reduce emissions economy-wide. Key activities are outlined below.


Our CAP outlines strategies for reducing all emissions in the County, which means it's important that we get everyone involved in the efforts. You can learn more about upcoming opportunties to participate in CAP-related discussions and events at our calendar of events.


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

As is the case with any plan, we will need to update the CAP 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 make minor adjustments--adding new program or policy ideas, for example--all the time.

A great source of new ideas are Dane County stakeholders--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. 


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