The science is clear. Climate change is real, we are responsible, and it is a threat. The past decade was the warmest on record, 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental United States, and 2010 tied 2005 as the hottest year globally since recordkeeping began in 1880. In the U.S., transportation (primarily personal vehicle use) and coal-burning power plants are the largest producers of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that contributes most to climate change. In Minneapolis, the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions are energy use in buildings, and the transportation system.
- Reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2015, and 30 percent by 2025 using 2006 as a baseline.
- Reduce municipal operations greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 percent annually.
Recent City & Community Activities
- Throughout 2012 and early 2013, City staff have worked with advisory groups made up of technical experts and community representatives to update the Minneapolis Climate Action Plan, a comprehensive set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategies in three areas: buildings and energy, transportation and land use, and waste and recycling.
- In January 2013, the City Council passed an ordinance requiring large commercial buildings in Minneapolis to report energy and water use annually with the intention of increasing energy awareness. The ordinance is a tool that uses market forces, rather than performance or design mandates, to motivate owners and tenants to invest in efficiency improvements, ultimately saving energy, lowering energy costs, spurring local green jobs, and reducing GHG emissions. Commercial buildings account for roughly 35 percent of GHG emissions in Minneapolis.
- At the end of April 2013, there were 45 LEED-certified commercial buildings in Minneapolis. 12 homes were also certified, along with a 51-unit multifamily building. LEED is a national third-party verification for high green building standards.
- The City partnered with Xcel Energy, CenterPoint Energy, Community Action of Minneapolis and the MN Housing Fund to promote energy efficiency rebates, weatherization funds and low-interest financing to more than 19,500 rental license holders, see rental property utility rebate information (pdf).
- The City's zero-interest energy efficiency loan program funded over $400,000 in improvements to 13 Minneapolis businesses in 2012. These businesses will benefit from savings on utility bills, while also reducing their need for greenhouse gas-emitting electricity and natural gas. This is in addition to almost $300,000 in energy efficiency investments made possible through Center for Energy and Environment loans and grants for businesses and nonprofits.
- In 2012, energy efficiency experts visited 1,053 Minneapolis homes, installing improvements worth over $500,000, saving homeowners almost $100,000 a year on their energy bills, and reducing GHG emissions by over 500 metric tons. Although the start-up funding for the Community Energy Services program provided by the City of Minneapolis is over, the program is still available to Minneapolis homeowners as "Home Energy Squad Enhanced," thanks to funding through CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy, with support from the City.
Last updated Apr. 16, 2013