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Solar Array on top of Knoxville Convention Center

March 9, 2021:
The City of Knoxville invites all members of our community to fill out a survey to plan how we reduce our collective climate footprint.

The Mayor’s Climate Council and its Working Groups evaluated dozens of strategies for their impact to our climate and community, and suggested possible actions to help fulfill those strategies.

Now, to make sure that we're working towards climate strategies that make sense for our community, we want to hear your priorities and ideas. Using the questionnaire link below, please share how you think we could best reduce our collective carbon footprint.

Public Survey on Community Climate Strategies

  Community Engagement
Goods & Services
Urban Agriculture
Sustainable Growth
For over a decade, the City of Knoxville has worked to make Knoxville a greener, more sustainable city – one where the economy, environment, and community can thrive today and in the future. Thanks to our forward-looking, pragmatic, and effective approach, Knoxville is a regional and national sustainability leader. We’ve saved money through efficient City operations, improved infrastructure for folks who bike, walk, or use public transit, increased renewable energy capacity, and invested in energy efficiency for our homes and businesses. Jobs in energy and advanced technology sectors are strengthening our region’s economy. We’ve shown that when we advance sustainability, we make Knoxville an even greater city.

Learn more about the history of the Energy & Sustainability Initiative here.

Our Progress

In 2008, the City of Knoxville set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020 relative to 2005 levels for both municipal operations and the Knoxville community. We’re on track to exceed our municipal goal, and community emissions are lower in the midst of a growing economy and improving quality of life for our residents. You can read more about our progress of the Energy & Sustainability Initiative in the 2017 Work Plan & Emissions Inventory Update [PDF]

Knoxville is a leader, and leaders always move forward.

We are proud of our progress, but Knoxville shouldn’t settle for “that’s enough.”

We’ve set two new climate goals for 2030 and 2050 that aspire to unlock bold, innovative action to ensure a sustainable future that protects our environment while also creating inclusive economic opportunities and improving quality of life for all our citizens. 

Throughout 2020-2021, the City's Office of Sustainability will lead a variety of community conversations to inform the development of a plan for how Knoxville can meet these goals.

If you would like to learn more about and/or be involved in this planning process, please fill out a short survey here.


Emission Goals

City Government Leads by Example: 50% by 2030

Emissions associated with City operations are down 15% relative to 2005, and we’re on track to exceed 20% with the completion of our LED streetlight retrofit. We’ve reduced emissions while saving taxpayer dollars and maintaining the quality services our residents expect. 

Our new goal is ambitious but realistic. With steady leadership,
the City can make smart, fiscally-responsible investments in new, cost-competitive technologies and operational innovations that achieve deep emission reductions while maintaining high quality services.

Aspiring for Deep Community Progress: 80% by 2050

Emission Goals - LeafThe Knoxville community’s greenhouse gas emissions are down 11% from 2005 levels, even while population, economic activity, and property values have increased over the last decade.  We know that responsible environmental practices can go hand in-hand with economic development and an improved, more equitable quality of life. 

Reducing emissions 80% by 2050 is a bold aspirational goal that requires changes to technology markets and energy systems – most of which are outside City government control. But, the City is an agent of change, and by setting our compass toward a dramatically lower-carbon future, we aim to motivate cross-sector leadership from many partners to ensure Knoxville remains a great place for all residents to call home for generations to come.

Read more about the vision for Knoxville's new sustainability goals in the Sustainability Success Brochure [PDF].

Climate Change

Being a Sustainable Community Means Addressing Climate Change

Climate change is intensifying many challenges we already face in Knoxville, like extreme heat, extreme storms, localized flooding, air pollution, and pests to people and crops. It threatens our property, our wallets, our health, and places we love, like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Across the world, millions of lives are at risk. Experts agree: this big challenge calls for bold leadership to protect our children and grandchildren from the worst effects of climate change and prepare local communities to deal with impacts they already face.