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What's In the Climate Action Plan

The Climate Action Plan has 6 goals and 103 strategies, which sounds like a lot. But the activities all fall into four main categories:

  • Transportation
  • Buildings and waste
  • Greenspaces and waterways
  • Jobs and opportunity

Every solution included in the plan will be implemented through an equity lens, so that all Chattanoogans, regardless of skin color or zip code, will experience the benefits of a cleaner, more sustainable city.

Download a printable infographic here.

The most recent greenhouse gas inventories for Chattanooga identified transportation as a major contributor to the City’s carbon footprint. Building on and supporting the goals of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia 2050 Regional Transportation Plan, the Climate Action Plan includes solutions for decarbonizing the transportation sector and increasing cleaner, greener transportation options for all Chattanoogans. Here are the major ones to know about:

Increase alternate transportation options for Chattanoogans
Walking, biking, carpooling, or using public transit all come with multiple benefits, for you and our city. Alternative modes of transportation save money, improve public health, ease traffic congestion, and lead to a better quality of life. The Climate Action Plan includes actions to expand and better integrate public transit, pedestrian, and bicycle infrastructure across the city.

Fully electrify CARTA and the City of Chattanooga’s fleet of vehicles
The City’s public transit system and a fleet of vehicles are an essential part of delivering services and ensuring public safety across every neighborhood in Chattanooga, but they also contribute to air pollution. CARTA is already leading the way in electrification with one of the largest electric bus fleets in the country, and the Climate Action Plan builds on that success by calling for the long-term electrification of all CARTA and City-operated vehicles.

Make it easier for residents to own and use electric vehicles
To become a net zero-carbon city by 2050, the majority of vehicles on Chattanooga’s roads need to be electric. Electric vehicle (EV) ownership isn’t just good for the environment, it's good for the economy, too. It reduces and stabilizes the cost to travel by car and encourages investment in domestic EV manufacturers. That’s why the Climate Action Plan includes multiple actions to incentivize EV ownership and use, from integrating EV infrastructure into new developments to establishing an equitable network of publicly available EV charging locations.

Buildings are the number one contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Chattanooga. What’s more, the people who live and work in buildings create waste that leads to landfill accumulations, pollutes greenspaces and waterways, and adds to our carbon footprint. The Climate Action Plan includes solutions to improve energy efficiency in buildings and reduce waste accumulating in landfills. Here are the major ones to know about:

Improve energy efficiency across all municipal buildings
The City of Chattanooga is already leading in energy efficiency,  significantly surpassing the goal set by the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. The Climate Action Plan calls for building on that success by doing things like transforming the City’s wastewater treatment plant into a fully self-powered campus and requiring all new City facilities to be designed with a net-zero carbon footprint.

Make it easier for residents to access clean energy sources to power their homes and office buildings
Clean energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps lower energy costs for privately owned buildings and homes in the long-term. While Chattanoogans pay some of the lowest rates for energy in the country, we also have some of the highest average energy bills because of the lack of energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings. That’s why we’ll be partnering with energy providers and community organizations to make transitions to clean energy more affordable and attractive for all Chattanoogans.

Reduce waste city-wide
The Climate Action Plan includes a commitment to achieving a zero waste footprint across all City government operations by 2040 and city-wide by 2050. To get there, we’ll be reducing material use and increasing equipment reuse in the City. We’ll also be exploring construction and demolition recycling, along with incentives for residents to recycle and reduce the amount of waste they send to local landfills.

Chattanooga’s outdoor resources are world-renowned and integral to our future prosperity. Our parks, trails, and waterways improve public health, strengthen and connect neighborhoods, and drive our economic growth. That’s why the Climate Action plan includes solutions for preserving the integrity of our natural resources while expanding and enhancing our green infrastructure. These are the ones to know about:

Improve water and air quality throughout the city
Our waterways and air quality have come a long way since the 1960s when Walter Cronkite dubbed Chattanooga the most polluted city in America. But we still have a ways to go to restore them to optimal levels. To get there, we’ll finish updating our sewer system to eliminate overflows, restore recreational use to all major tributaries, and incentivize water conservation and runoff improvement programs for homeowners. We’ll also be closely monitoring air quality measurements to track progress as we reduce greenhouse gas emissions city-wide.

Preserve and grow natural habitats and tree canopies
Chattanooga sits within one of the most biodiverse landscapes in the country. Preserving and promoting natural habitats and tree canopies will keep the “Scenic City” scenic, while also protecting against the impacts of ever-increasing rainfall and rising temperatures. That’s why the Climate Action plan includes actions to create and preserve conservation easements, establish a habitat corridor and connectivity plan, and remove invasive species. It also calls for innovative funding streams to increase tree planting, especially in low-income and underserved neighborhoods.

Increase access to quality greenspaces for every neighborhood
The larger and better connected a city’s parks system is, the better it’s able to protect biodiversity and natural resources in the face of a changing climate. Parks also unify communities, improve public health, and increase public safety in neighborhoods. That’s why the Climate Action Plan supports the development and adoption of the City’s Parks and Outdoors Plan and prioritizes zoning code updates that will lead to more connected greenspaces and trails throughout the City.

As the climate is changing, so is our global economy. America’s green economy is now worth more than $1 trillion annually, outpacing the oil and gas sectors. To ensure Chattanooga accesses the benefits of this newly emerging economy, the Climate Action Plan will:

Grow the local green economy
The emerging green economy has already brought more than 1300 jobs and $950 million in investment to Chattanooga, with Novonix manufacturing clean battery materials and VW producing its ID.4 all within city limits. The Climate Action Plan includes solutions to build on that positive momentum and bring even more green jobs to the area. We’ll be forming a multidisciplinary committee to continue driving green investment in the region and exploring ways to promote green economic growth through City contracts.

Prepare our local workforce for the green economy of the future
New green jobs are only beneficial to Chattanoogans if they are qualified to fill them. That’s why we’ll be laser-focused on creating skill-building opportunities at every level to prepare residents to work in and benefit from the emerging green economy.



Regional Planning Agency
1250 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 643-5900

Office of Sustainability
Erik Schmidt, Director of Sustainability
1250 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 643-7822