Rochester eyes 100 percent renewable energy by 2031

It’s interesting to watch how evolving climate change science is driving policy at the local level.

Rochester appears to have become the latest Minnesota city to recognize the realities of climate change and propose action at the local level. I watched last night as Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede read a proclamation that Rochester will strive to set a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2031.

Brede read the proclamation in front of the crowd gathered for last night’s Climate Generation Minnesota event at Rochester Community and Technical College. I was asked to speak at the event about climate changes globally and the effects in Minnesota.

The proclamation is not law, but sets forth a process for achieving the goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2031.

The big picture perspective here is interesting. Even as progress at the national level on climate change policy is slow to non-existent, many local communities have realized it is in their best interest to take action.

The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan was  adopted by the Minneapolis City Council on June 28, 2013. Other Minnesota cities and towns have also adopted climate change and renewable energy plans.

Increasingly, local and state governments are seeing are both financial and environmental benefits to going green on climate. There are now more than 15,000 climate related jobs in Minnesota and that number is growing.

As a meteorologist and climate science journalist, I don’t advocate specific policy. But it is interesting to observe and report on the growing number of local cities that are adopting sound climate science as policy.

  • MNS

    ‘Even as progress at the national level on climate change policy is slow to non-existent, many local communities have realized it is in their best interest to take action.’
    IMO, individuals families, neighborhoods and then communities will have to drive change if it is ever to occur. Large cities, state and then countries will ride the coattails of their successes.

  • Mary

    It’s too bad that our leadership is so ignorant about this topic that they would promote climate change initiatives that actual science tells us will NOT effect any changes whatsoever. Pathetic. Disturbing on SO many levels.

    • George

      Why the change to clean energy makes so meany people mad is beyond me. It doesn’t cost you any more no matter what the idiots say. I doesn’t pollute our air or our oceans. It will eventually be the way since we are running out of everything else. I suggest that you focus on some hobby you really like and leave this matter to those who like moving forward. The science you suggest doesn’t exist!

      • Mary

        Your ignorance on this topic is on full display here, George. The science does, in fact, exist and was presented to Congress by NASA’s James Hanson, a man who is an avid believer in climate change. Renewables cost FAR more than conventional sources of electrical generation, according to the DOE and any other agency that tracks such things. Additionally, renewable energy is not meant to replace other sources of generation but is purely supplemental. The wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine and there are no technologies for storage on the horizon. Wind turbines rely on back-up generation from coal plants or gas peaking plants, which is another FACT that you seem to be unaware of. This is why you will always find the transmission lines running to a nearby coal or gas plant. (See Dexter, MN) Our air quality has been steadily improving, without turbines or solar, for the past 40 years. You would know this if you read the EQB reports or attended any of their public venues. Water quality is also improving, though atmospheric deposition from China, which does not have any pollution control measures, continues to be a sore spot. Any yet, thanks to the work done by UNESCO and the toxicologists led by UMD-College Park, we now know that we can control some toxic substances by stabilizing water levels in impoundments.
        According to both the USGS, USFWS, and environmental agencies not reaping millions for promoting this nonsense, the environmental degradation and wildlife impacts from wind turbines are extraordinarily high. Loss of habitat is still the leading cause of species extinction and nothing steals habitat like wind turbines. Nothing. This is feel good, perception based non-solution promoted as a solution to very real environmental problems, and is far from moving us forward. This is stated in a wind industry document posted to our own MPUC dockets on wind: “Perception = reality.” “Influence the Perceptions of decision makers.” Oops…you’ve been duped, mainly because you lack the intellectual curiosity to explore this topic on your own but have deliberately chosen to take the easy road and simply “believe’. USFWS is embattled in the Great Lakes Region. Multi-national corporate interests tied to Wall Street banks have proposed putting 9,000 wind turbines in and around the largest migratory pathway in North America. Even groups that approve of wind turbines are outraged. $$$$ is driving this, not environmental excellence. Perhaps you should volunteer some time to help protect that area so you can get a reality based, boots on the ground, education on this topic.

  • MrE85

    MrE85 (aka Robert Moffitt from the American Lung Association in Minnesota) says it was nice meeting you in Rochester and hearing your presentation on climate change in Minnesota.