Tag Archive for: climate action

Houston’s Resilience and Climate Action Report Card

Houston’s Resilience and Climate Action report card for 2023 shows how much progress has been made in the last three years.

In 2020, three years after Hurricane Harvey, the City of Houston completed a comprehensive, and wide-ranging resilience plan. The latest report card also updates on the City’s Resilience efforts as well as its Climate efforts.

The two go far beyond flooding. Together, they attempt to institutionalize equity, resilience, and sustainability within all city functions including:

  • Equity and Opportunity
  • Mobility and Land Use
  • Buildings and Energy
  • Water
  • Disaster Management
  • Heat and Nature
  • Materials Management
  • Resilience Coordination

Houston’s Resilience and Climate Action report card includes a total of 297 specific actions. Eighty-four percent of the 201 actions in the resilience plan, and 72 percent of 96 actions in the climate plan are now complete or in progress. The graph below shows how they should play out in the next 25 years.

From Page 8 of the Year 3 Report

Flood Resilience

Flood resilience highlights included:

  • Sixteen green storm-water infrastructure projects were completed in 2022, bringing the total completed to 86 in three years.
  • The City kicked off a stormwater master planning effort to better analyze the performance of the City’s stormwater infrastructure, using updated rainfall data to identify and assess areas of the City with the greatest need for system improvements.
  • In 2023, The City and its partners broke ground on the first of four funded flood-mitigation infrastructure projects to reach the construction phase, the Inwood Forest Stormwater Detention Basin. North Canal Diversion Channel, Lake Houston Dam Gate Structure, and TIRZ 17 Regional Detention are the three other major flood mitigation projects in Houston funded by FEMA.

Other Resilience and Climate Achievements

Other resilience- and climate-related achievements in Houston’s Resilience and Climate Action report card included:

  • A 2020 greenhouse gas emissions inventory showed a 10% reduction from the 2014 baseline.
  • The City was awarded an A rating from the Carbon Disclosure Project once again in 2022.
  • Houston also achieved its Gold designation as a Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Cities by the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • In 2022, the City and its partners planted more than 200,000 trees, bringing the total planted since 2019 to more than 1.4 million – or 31% of its 4.6 million tree goal by 2030.
  • Also in 2022, the Houston City Council approved the Nature Preserve Ordinance designed to protect 7,423 acres of natural habitat in City parks. These areas will help mitigate flooding, store carbon, reduce urban heat island effects, improve air and water quality, and provide educational opportunities for the public.
  • Twenty miles of high-comfort bike lanes were built in 2022 bringing the total miles to 406 out of a goal of 500 miles – 81% complete.
  • The City adopted a Municipal Building Decarbonization and Benchmarking policy in 2022 and finalized initial benchmarking in 2023.
  • Houston Airport System started engaging in an Airport Carbon Accreditation program and began documenting benchmarks.
  • Houston kicked off the Climate Resilience Measurement for Communities project in partnership with the Resilient Cities Network.
  • By the end of 2021, annual local solar generation in Houston increased to 148,030 MWh. Solar demand is growing exponentially. Solar permitting doubled between 2019 and 2021 and increased another 66% in 2022.
  • Between 2022 and 2023, purchases of Electric Vehicles more than tripled the number of EVs in the municipal fleet. The City is also increasing investment in publicly accessible charging stations.
  • The City signed an MOU with the Houston Community College to train 500,000 Houstonians in resilience.
  • The Houston Recycling Collaboration started collecting “all plastics,” including styrofoam, bags and films.

2024 Goals

Having read many reports like these, you quickly learn to distinguish things that happen on paper from things that happen on the ground.

Among exciting goals for 2024, four stood out in that regard.

  • The launch of a tree planting portal to coordinate community efforts.
  • Heat mitigation efforts
  • Green stormwater infrastructure and urban prairie plantings
  • Building pilot resilience hubs.

I don’t mean to shortchange other efforts. The City is also pursuing grants and partnerships which will be important down the road.

To see Houston’s Resilience and Climate Action report card, click here.

To learn more about the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability, click here.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/22/24

2397 Days since Hurricane Harvey