Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Board Approves Climate Change Plan

Led by Sup. Haas, board approves plan to annually analyze, adapt to local impacts of global climate change.

By - Feb 10th, 2022 09:49 am

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Sulfur at English Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Sulfur at English Wikipedia (GFDL) or (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

The Milwaukee County Board recently passed a resolution authored by Supervisor Jason Haas that will have the county begin preparing for the current and future consequences of global climate change.

Haas’ resolution calls on county staff to analyze the risks posed by climate change to county assets and communities and develop recommendations for how the county can prepare and respond to these risks.

The legislation, which was passed by the board on Feb. 3, sets the county up to annually review and revise a climate change resiliency plan developed as a result of this legislation. It makes thinking about and preparing for the ill effects of climate change a new regular duty of county staff and elected officials.

When the policy went before board committees, Haas explained that the climate changes caused by rising global temperatures are already becoming visible in the Milwaukee area. He noted that rain events and flooding were already becoming more of a problem, including the winter storm in 2020 that caused millions in damages to the Milwaukee shoreline. The cost to repair and prevent coastal bluff erosion in the county has already been estimated at more than $1 billion by Milwaukee County Parks.

Haas said his legislation is meant to get the county on the path to climate resiliency. He said, “It means we have policies and procedures in place to respond to natural disasters, and the flexibility to adapt our practices so we can better respond to these events.”

Haas’s legislation asks parks to work with the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Office of Sustainability to identify specific risks, as well as their possible scope, likelihood and intensity.

“We know, big picture, we’re gonna have more bad stuff happening,” Haas said.

The resolution includes $30,000 to undertake the initial research. But it also asks the county’s Office of Strategy, Budget and Performance, the new Grants & Special Projects Division and the Office of Government Affairs to identify opportunities for federal grants to fund projects building up the county’s climate resilience.

[inarticlead ad=”UM-In-Article-2″Specifically, Haas wants the county to look into opportunities in the trillion dollar federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Sup. Felesia Martin, who joined 10 other supervisors as a co-sponsor of the resolution, said, “It’s just one step toward the serious work that needs to be done.”

The county, and the county board, have taken steps to begin dealing with climate change with what power and authority is at the county’s disposal. In 2021, the county board passed legislation authored by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson, that made it a policy commitment to pursue carbon neutrality for all county operations by 2050. Before that, the county board had committed the county to meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The county is also part of a City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity. The group released its first report in 2020.

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