I checked in with Kathryn Ringham, who’s been working with MN350 around the City’s 2023 Climate Equity Plan and wrote about community involvement in the plan back in March. Now that the plan is set for City Council approval July 20, I asked her if the plan addressed the concerns MN350 had been bringing to the City.

“While not perfect, the plan has evolved in a bold way, so all the work has been worthwhile,” Ringham said.

A volunteer with MN350, Lee Samelson, attended last week’s City Council's Public Health and Safety Committee meeting where the Climate and Equity Plan was approved unanimously after hearing about some changes to the plans based on submitted comments and public meetings. Ringham shared the volunteer report with Southwest Voices. Here are some highlights on what stood out in the plan to the volunteer:

The following sections have solid plans, according to Samelson: 

  • Air Quality
  • Buildings & Industry
  • City Operations & Enterprise
  • Energy Systems
  • Food and Zero Waste Circular Economy
  • Green Space and Trees
  • Healthy Homes
  • Transportation and Complete Streets
  • Water

The 12-month action plan on pages 80-84 of the report is a helpful addition. According to Samelson, responsible City departments are identified with clear next steps.

“If the City keeps up this process, in a way that methodically moves through the action items and identifies new ones, this could be a very effective process,” the volunteer report reads.

One of the bold aspects of the Climate Equity Plan is the City’s carbon budget.

“The science-based carbon budget approach is very strong and one of the most aggressive/outcomes that matter oriented ways of setting goals that I have seen a city use,” Samelson noted in the report. The City of Minneapolis has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.

As you can see in the Climate Equity Plan’s visuals below, the City’s own carbon budget will be exhausted by 2031 if the City doesn’t make any major adjustments to its carbon usage in the immediate future.

Source: The City of Minneapolis 2023 Climate Equity Plan, page 24
Source: The City of Minneapolis 2023 Climate Equity Plan, page 24

“The public comments you and many others submitted really made a huge difference,” Samelson said. “It is still worth asking your city councilmember to support the Minneapolis Climate Equity Plan when it comes up for a vote on July 20 and to show up to let them know it is important. Any further delay in approval will slow down implementation and funding decisions.”