Climate Change in Knoxville TN

🖐🏽 Citizens of Metro Knoxville make this page. See local climate editors

This page talks about climate change and the great energy transition in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

1.0 How climate change will impact Knoxville

2.0 Knoxville city leaders + the climate

3.0 Climate organizations in Knoxville

4.0 University of Tennessee Knoxville + the climate

5.0 Knoxville politicians + the climate

6.0 Knoxville’s local energy transition

0.0 How Knoxville‘s climate is changing

Rainier days in the Spring are becoming more normal as Knoxville gets hotter. In recent years, late winter and early spring temperatures have been higher than average and precipitation has steadily increased.

1.0 How climate change is impacting Knoxville

Springtime flooding Knoxville

Late winter / early spring flooding in Knoxville has become a frustrating and expensive problem.

Knoxville’s February 2019 flood was a whopper. It damaged 1,200 homes, hundreds of businesses, and plenty of public infrastructure. The damage totaled nearly over $65,000,000. Rains of several inches in a few hours saturate ground and raise the water table. Change in Knoxville TN/7383971002/

Unprecedented wildfire in Eastern Tennessee

People in the area were taken by surprise. The Thanksgiving Fire of 2016 burned through forests and towns in the Great Smokey Mountains, 35 miles from Knoxville. Over five days, 47 people lost their lives and hundreds of businesses and homes burned. The disaster was terrifyingly fierce compared to any fire in the Eastern US.

For thousands of years, the forests of future Tennessee stayed moist enough to keep the number and extent of wildfires to a minimum. Now, by the end of summer and fall, the forests are dry, creating kindling for out-of-control wildfire.

Climate change didn’t spark the fire – downed power lines did. But scientists attribute the unprecedented magnitude of the fire on exceptional drought conditions – brought on by the hotter, drier summers of the warming climate. In the Southeast U.S., fires like Gatlinburg will likely occur more often over the coming decades.

2.0 Knoxville City Leaders + the climate

The City of Knoxville has not yet declared a legally-binding “Climate Emergency” as thousands of cities across the world have. But the City says it will reduce community-wide carbon emissions 80% by 2050.

Mayor Kincannon’s new Climate Council is off to a good start

City of Knoxville’s Mayor Indya Kincannon announced a new Climate Council during her first annual State of the City address In early 2020.

The Council wants to reduce carbon emissions across all sectors of the Knoxville community. The Climate Council is comprised of leaders from businesses, utilities, universities, neighborhood associations, environmental groups, and the faith community. Photo courtesy WJHL TV.

City of Knoxville’s excellent new LED streetlights

They make the city look great, they save public money, and they go easy on the atmosphere.

The City of Knoxville upgraded its streetlights 2020 to energy-saving LED bulbs. “We’re ahead of the curve,” says Knoxville Sustainability Director Brian Blackmon. Knoxville’s emissions have been greatly reduced because of the city’s LED streetlight conversion project. The City’s street lighting bill used 60% less energy in 2020 than the previous year when the streets were lit by old-tech tech light bulbs.


3.0 Knoxville students are raising Knoxvillians awareness about the changing climate

4.0 Climate Organizations in Knoxville

It’s 2021 and Knoxville’s climate and energy groups are more active than ever. Here’s a quick look at what they’ve been up to.

Interfaith Power & Light – Knoxville chapter

Holding all life sacred, Knoxville’s diverse faith community focuses on just public policy to solve the climate crisis.

Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) works at the crossroads of spiritual power and local climate policy. This intersectional faith group advocates for transformative climate protection in cities across the United States. Knoxville’s IPL chapter works with other local groups to shape Metro Knoxville’s decarbonization policies, with emphasis on protecting vulnerable communities. IPL Knoxville helps East Tennessee houses of worship to reduce their carbon footprint, and integrate Earth care into community life. Facebook page: @EastTNEarthRise

Sunrise Movement Knoxville

Knoxville resident Alex Pulsipher at Sunrise Movement’s Market Square climate rally on August 15, 2021. He and hundreds of others want the Tennessee Valley Authority to speed up their efforts to produce only clean electricity.

Sunrise Movement Knoxville holds periodic climate rallies and a “Good Jobs for All” rally every April. Sunrise Movement wants everyone to know that a clean-energy economy will give rise to good new jobs.

Photo courtesy of Amy Rawe/Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Knox Climate Action Central

Knoxville climate activist Todd Waterman has maintained this local info-rich page since 2017

Knox Climate Action Central (KCAC) is where Knoxville-area climate activists and others go to learn about local climate meetings, projects, and actions. It

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Knoxville

Seriously. This lobbying group does not see you as red or blue.

They simply want local politicians in Congress to vote for a price on carbon.

All are welcome to the Greater Knoxville Citizens’ Climate Lobby meetings. If you are interested in our beautiful East Tennessee environment, you are invited to attend our open meetings. You will be greeted respectfully whatever your political leanings: Republican, Democrat or Independent.” Meeting are on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm. Go to

5.0 Knoxville politicians + the climate


Representative Burchett’s vote on HR 1733, the RECLAIM Act

6.0 Progress on Knoxville‘s Great Energy Transition (2021)

This section is a chronicle of the Scruffy City’s progress on quickly switching every aspect of local life over to clean electricity.

Check back here over the months and years, and see how well everyone in your town is doing to reach Zero carbon emissions. Remember, most carbon emissions need to be eliminated by sometime in the 2030s to keep the atmosphere from becoming unlivable.

Knoxville’s local Carbon Monsters

Bull Run and Kingston coal fired power stations are Knoxville’s most potent warmers of the atmosphere. They are making the climate change.

Clean Line Transmission Project

Huge amounts of wind energy are available to Tennessee with a special new transmission line.

The Clean Line Transmission Project would bring up to 4,000 megawatts of high quality wind energy into the southeastern US – a region that relies heavily on carbon burning power stations. The Tennessee Valley Authority was expected to make a decision on the project in July 2021, but so far the giant regional agency made no announcement.

Tuckahoe Community

Knoxville’s Alex Pulsipher is developing a sustainable community on 70 acres of rugged forested land outside of Knoxville. His company Tuckahoe is using technologies and practices that allow the new community to be minimally impactful on the local ecosystem. pulsipher

SEEED’s Solar Home groundbreaking