City Climate Corner explores how small and mid-sized cities are tackling climate change and moving toward an equitable and sustainable future.

Co-hosted by Abby Finis and Larry Kraft.

Click here to see the map were episodes have happened with local elected officials.


Saerbeck Germany: Climate Community

Larry recently visited Saerbeck, a village in northwest Germany that has done incredible things with renewable energy, biogas, and now green hydrogen. We interview Martin Sammler, Manager of Saerbeck’s Climate Action Department,…

AUGUST 29TH, 2023 | 38:22 | E57


With this summer of one climate disaster after another, Abby and Larry talk about how they deal with the depressing parts of climate change work, and especially, what gives them hope.

AUGUST 16TH, 2023 | 21:23 | E56

Santa Monica CA: 3D Printed Bike Lanes

More and more we’re learning that protected bike lanes with physical separation from car traffic are the best at changing behavior and getting a lot more people to cycle. But they can be time consuming to construct. We interview…

AUGUST 2ND, 2023 | 45:27 | E55

Hopkins MN: Urban heat island

Though Hopkins is one of the smaller Minneapolis suburbs, it packs a big punch on climate action. We dig into two really innovative programs they’re doing on reducing the urban heat island effect and speeding deployment of clean…

JULY 19TH, 2023 | 49:32 | E54

Transportation Emissions and VMT

Transportation is now the #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. While electrification is the most obvious emissions reduction strategy, it isn’t enough. We must reduce VMT, or vehicle miles travelled. We interview Ann…

JULY 5TH, 2023 | 39:17 | E53

Transformation in Minnesota

Minnesota recently finished a state legislative session for the ages. Democratic control of state government for the first time in a decade, combined with a historic budget surplus, led to the adoption of transformative investme…

JUNE 1ST, 2023 | 30:26 | E52

St Cloud MN: 100% Renewable for City Ops (& beyond)

In 2015 St. Cloud MN set a goal to get 75% of municipal operations electricity from renewable energy by 2035. Only five years later in 2020, emanating from work at their wastewater facility, they actually hit 100%. We interview…

MAY 18TH, 2023 | 50:48 | E51

Ann Arbor MI: Innovation in action

We revisit Ann Arbor, Michigan and their dynamic Sustainability & Innovations Director Missy Stults, to check in on their audacious plan to reach net zero by 2030. They are pushing the envelope in so many ways, from their taxpay…

MAY 3RD, 2023 | 40:31 | E50

Boise ID: Geothermal

We’re back to Boise Idaho to hear about the nation’s largest geothermal energy system and the big role it plays in heating the city. We again interview Director of Public Works, Steve Burgos, and Communications Manager Natalie M…

APRIL 18TH, 2023 | 41:08 | E49

Santa Fe County, NM: Conserve 30 percent by 2030

In December 2020 Santa Fe County adopted a resolution to conserve 30% of its land and water by 2030. We interview County Sustainability Manager Jacqueline Beam to understand how the resolution happened, what it means, and how it…

MARCH 21ST, 2023 | 41:15 | E48

2022 – Year in review

Abby and Larry review some of their highlights from the year’s episodes and share some big news about the podcast.

DECEMBER 27TH, 2022 | 13:46 | E47

Boise ID: Water Renewal in the High Desert

As Boise is in the high desert, water is increasingly a precious resource. In 2021 Boise voters approved a 20-year $570M bond for water renewal, including a major focus on recycling wastewater. We interview Director of Public Wo…

DECEMBER 13TH, 2022 | 50:40 | E46

Red Lake Nation and the Solar Bear

Solar energy’s direct benefits are well known. But Bob Blake, CEO of solar installation company Solar Bear, and Executive Director of Native Sun Community Power Development, has a much more expansive vision for the Red Lake Nati…

NOVEMBER 29TH, 2022 | 39:36 | E45

Freiburg: Green City

Beautiful urban forest — abundant green spaces — easy to get around without a car — and a commitment to climate protection. Freiburg seems to have it all. We interview Freiburg City Council Member Sophie Schwer and learn how…

NOVEMBER 15TH, 2022 | 46:39 | E44

The Inflation Reduction Act and Cities

The Inflation Reduction Act is a monumental and transformative piece of legislation. For the first time the federal government has passed a law that “meets the moment” and puts us within striking distance of reaching critical climate goals. We interview Dr. Pete Wyckoff, Sr. Policy Advisor for Climate Energy and the Environment in the Office of Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, one of the key legislative leaders on climate policy, to learn about how this legislation happened, and what’s in it for cities.


NOVEMBER 1ST, 2022 | 51:31 | E43

Heidelberg: Carbon Neutral District

Heidelberg is nearing completion of the Bahnstadt, one of the world’s largest carbon neutral districts. Built on a former brownfield site, this development includes passive-house construction, a combined heat and power station w…

OCTOBER 18TH, 2022 | 36:24 | E42

Solar United Neighbors: Solar “co-ops”

Will rooftop solar be the cornerstone of a modern clean energy system? We interview Anya Schoolman, executive director of Solar United Neighbors and learn how this growing organization is helping neighborhoods go solar around th…

OCTOBER 4TH, 2022 | 40:20 | E41

Rotterdam: Climate proofing a city

Rotterdam, and The Netherlands in general, have a long history of fighting water. But how are they adapting to climate change where they can have both too much and too little water? We interview Johan Verlinde, Program Manager f…

SEPTEMBER 20TH, 2022 | 40:50 | E40

Zoning for Solar

How do you make sure your city’s zoning isn’t unintentionally slowing down residential solar and ideally encouraging equitable solar development? And for communities with farmland or less developed areas, how do you proactively…

SEPTEMBER 7TH, 2022 | 43:38 | E39

Europe Cities Overview with ICLEI Europe

Building off of Abby’s recent sustainability tour of several European cities, we interview Holger Robrecht, Deputy Regional Director of Sustainable Resources, Climate and Resilience for ICLEI Europe. We learn some similarities a…

AUGUST 23RD, 2022 | 37:13 | E38

Making Solar Easy: Solsmart and IREC

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, right? Well, maybe there is in solar. Cities participating in the free Solsmart program have been shown to have almost 20% more solar installations than cities that don’t. We interview Ther…

AUGUST 9TH, 2022 | 35:48 | E37

Flagstaff AZ: The Case for Carbon Dioxide Removal

Driven by community members, in 2020 Flagstaff declared a climate emergency and adopted an aggressive goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. We interview Flagstaff Climate Analyst Ramon Alatorre and learn how that goal led the city…

JULY 26TH, 2022 | 40:22 | E36

Winneshiek IA: Local Clean Energy Superpower

You wouldn’t expect a clean energy revolution to be emanating from a small county in northeastern Iowa. Yet, Winneshiek County has something like 10X the solar per capita deployments compared to the rest of Iowa, has one of the…

JULY 12TH, 2022 | 48:46 | E35

Rerelease of Tempe AZ: Resilience to Extreme Heat

We’re on a mid-summer break, and are re-releasing the Tempe AZ episode from a few months ago, in recognition of the extreme heat being seen in many parts of the US. We’ll be back with new content next week. Extreme heat is now…

JULY 5TH, 2022 | 44:49 | E34

Fort Collins CO: People-Centered Climate Action

Having met their initial goal of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (from a 2005 baseline), officials in Fort Collins, Colorado, realized they needed to do something transformational to hit their next goal of 80%…

JUNE 21ST, 2022 | 42:36 | E33

City Climate Corner goes to Europe – preview

Larry interviews Abby about her trip to Europe that is happening as the episode releases. We talk about what she hopes to learn from visits with officials in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Bremen, Heidelberg, and Freiburg in Germ…

MAY 24TH, 2022 | 15:25 | E31

Contra Costa CA: SMART Housing & Conservative City Climate Progress

Though near the Bay Area, Contra Costa County has very different political dynamics when it comes to climate change. And yet a group of organizations are collaborating to get climate action language into cities’ general plans an…

MAY 10TH, 2022 | 36:15 | E30

Indigenous Climate Leadership: Quinault Nation & The National Congress of American Indians

The Quinault Nation is on the front line of impacts from climate change, having experienced a dramatic drop in their blueback salmon fishery, as well as rising sea levels forcing the relocation of one of their two main villages. We interview Fawn Sharp, the Vice-President and former President of the Quinault Nation in Taholah Washington, and the 23rd President of The National Congress of American Indians. We hear her story of how local impacts have driven her to lead state, national, and international action on climate change.


APRIL 26TH, 2022 | 36:56 | E29

Microgrids: Fremont and Menlo Park CA

What are microgrids and how can they save money, reduce air pollution and provide carbon-free power and backup power? We interview Rachel DiFranco, Fremont’s Sustainability Manager about the trail they blazed five years ago when they installed microgrids on three fire stations. And we’re joined by Menlo Park Council Member Cecilia Taylor and Menlo Spark Executive Director Diane Bailey, to talk about how they are integrating a microgrid into the rebuild of a Menlo Park community center.

APRIL 12TH, 2022 | 43:35 | E28

Tempe AZ: Resilience to Extreme Heat

Extreme heat is now commonplace in Tempe, with 100 days per year over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 30 days a year over 110. And those numbers are increasing. We interview Dr. Braden Kay, Tempe’s Director of Sustainability, to learn how Tempe’s is adapting while trying to change its built environment to reduce the urban heat island effect.

MARCH 29TH, 2022 | 44:05 | E27

The Importance of Storytelling

Climate change discussion is often filled with science, data, and graphs. But to move people, organizations, and governments to action requires emotional connections and empathy. It requires storytelling. We interview Jothsna Harris, founder of Change Narrative, who is dedicated to building capacity in the climate justice movement through the power of stories. Please listen here.

MARCH 15TH, 2022 | 39:33 | E26

Honolulu and Maui sue Big Oil

In March, 2020, inspired by a small city in California, Honolulu sued 8 oil companies for their role in causing local climate change damages. A few months later Maui County did the same. We interview some of the key people involved to learn how it happened, why they did it, and what they expect to gain from it. Our guests are the former Mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, Maui County Council Member Kelly Takaya King, and Alyssa Johl, Legal Director for the Center for Climate Integrity.. Please listen here.

MARCH 1ST, 2022 | 47:38 | E25

Keene NH: Small City, Big Climate Punch

Keene, population 23K, has been leading on climate action for over two decades. While their first formal action was in 2000, they’ve since done a Climate Action Plan, Climate Adaptation Plan, and now a Sustainable Energy Plan. We interview Mayor George Hansel and Planner Mari Brunner, to learn about the powerful alliance of citizens, elected officials, and staff that has pushed Keene forward. Please listen here.

FEBRUARY 15TH, 2022 | 39:33 | E24

Columbia MO: One Stop Shop City

Columbia Missouri is a “One Stop Shop” city, with their own utilities in electricity, water, solid waste, stormwater, and sewer. We interview Office of Sustainability Manager Eric Hempel and explore how their electric utility is an integral part of Columbia’s climate goals. We also learn about a Habitat for Humanity net zero home project that has had a wide-ranging impact. Plus, hear from Larry about 15+ MN cities declaring a climate emergency at the same time. Please listen here.

FEBRUARY 1ST, 2022 | 37:36 | E23

ICLEI and the Race to Zero (Carbon)

ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability, has been helping local governments with climate action for three decades. Learn how they’re evolving with some exciting new tools, cohorts, and programs. And hear how the Race to Zero is showing cities that it’s possible to cut carbon emissions 60% in 8 years. We interview Executive Director Angie Fyfe, Sr. Program Officer Kale Roberts, and Zero Carbon Cities Advisor Josh Radoff.

JANUARY 19TH, 2022 | 44:50 | E22

For 2021 Climate Corner Podcasts please go HERE