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Minnesota cities hope climate emergency resolutions add urgency to responses

By District Energy posted 02-02-2022 09:56




St. Paul last week joined a growing list of Minnesota cities passing climate resolutions aimed at adding urgency to state and local climate actions.

More than a dozen local governments in the state either have or are expected to pass climate emergency resolutions this month as part of an initiative by the Minnesota Cities Climate Caucus.

St. Paul City Council member Jane Prince, who introduced the climate emergency resolution, wants to create faster action to reduce carbon emissions. The two-page resolution cites local and global climate data while highlighting the impact of heat, drought, and wildfire smoke last year in the city.

The resolution notes actions the city has already taken, including drafting a Climate Action and Resilience Plan. It encourages the state and federal government to join St. Paul and take more aggressive action to eliminate emissions.

Prince hopes the resolution also encourages city department heads to be “checking the CARP [Climate Action and Resilience Plan] all the time” when making decisions. The council should do the same when passing resolutions and ordinances. “This definitely can’t be crying wolf,” she continued. “We have to do what we can on a project-by-project basis on a resolution-by-resolution basis.”

She said St. Paul has a history of being a climate leader, pointing to the city’s decades-old district energy system that uses tree waste for heating and cooling buildings. In addition, the city’s sustainable building ordinance requires any developer receiving more than $200,000 to select and comply with one of several rating systems. The city’s biggest development projects, Highland Bridge and the Hillcrest Golf Course, have aggressive environmental goals.

“St. Paul is a leader, and we should be owning that and presenting ourselves in that way,” Prince said.

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