Minneapolis seeks public input on ‘climate action plan’

Did you know that Minneapolis has its own plan to address climate change?

City staffers are updating the Minneapolis Climate Action Plan this year, and they’re asking for public input at a meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Library.

The city first signed a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions nearly two decades ago. The resolution adopting the plan noted, “there is international scientific consensus that the issue of climate change is of paramount global concern.”

The 1993 goal was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2005 (based on 1988 levels). The city’s current goal is to reduce emissions by 15 percent by 2015 and 30 percent by 2025 (based on 2006 levels).

Meeting those goals has been a challenge. A 2009 city report compared emissions data from 2000 and 2006. It found a 4 percent decline in emissions.

Meanwhile, the past decade was the warmest on record, city planners said, and two years (2005 and 2010) tied for the warmest years since recording began in 1880.

The city’s website says the problem is urgent:

Without strong and early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, our city, state and nation will face severe consequences. In the Upper Midwest, we face increased heat waves, reduced air quality and increasing insect and waterborne diseases. Changes in precipitation mean we will also face increased periods of flooding and drought.

Tonight’s event includes two speakers – Dr. Mark Seeley, a climatologist and professor at the University of Minnesota (and a regular commentator for MPR News) and Kristin Raab, the climate change project director for the Minnesota Department of Health.

The city has asked those who plan on attending to register for the event online.

If you can’t attend, but still want to share your input, the city has created an online survey about energy efficiency and transportation.