City sets goal to reduce greenhouse gas 80 percent by 2050
The Minneapolis City Council today set an aggressive goal to reduce carbon dioxide pollution by about 80 percent by 2050. The goal aligns with the State of Minnesota and Hennepin County and other cities including Boston; Chicago; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco and Vancouver, Wash. The goal supplements the City’s existing goals of 15 percent reduction by 2015 and 30 percent by 2025.
In Minnesota and the metro, we are already seeing trends consistent with the expected effects of a changing climate such as heavy rains, increasing air temperatures and changing humidity levels. Projections show that Minnesotans should expect more difficult summers with intense heat waves, more prevalent water-borne and insect-borne diseases, more days with low air quality, and more severe floods and droughts alike.
The World Bank estimates that if global emissions continue to increase at the current rate, the world would face significant coastal flooding, water scarcity and extreme heat events, significant impacts to coral reefs and associated fisheries, and significant changes in agricultural production in many regions from the increase in both flooding and droughts.
International scientific consensus estimates that reducing carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent to 70 percent from 2010 levels by 2050 will be necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This correlates with a reduction of approximately 80 percent from 2005 (the baseline year from which Minneapolis measures). Many communities – now including Minneapolis – have used this target as the basis for setting their long-term goals.
Sharing this goal with the County and the State of Minnesota will allow Minneapolis to work cooperatively. Examples include upcoming utility resource planning at the Public Utilities Commission and the State of Minnesota’s Clean Energy Future Study. Long-term utility planning, which is ongoing through state studies and processes at the Public Utilities Commission, will be important for Minneapolis’ ability to meet an 80 percent reduction goal.
Infrastructure and planning decisions today will affect 2050 and beyond. At the same time, short-term goals ensure that actions with immediate effects are prioritized and that progress is monitored on an annual basis. Minneapolis will continue work on implementing the Climate Action Plan, including the two-year priorities adopted by the City Council in February.
More information is at www.minneapolismn.gov/sustainability/climate.
Published Apr 25, 2014