Minneapolis a leader on climate change, scorecard says

solar panels
Minneapolis ranks fourth out of 100 major U.S. cities when it comes to setting and achieving climate change goals, according to a new report. File photo

Minneapolis continues to rank among the top cities in the nation when it comes to setting and meeting climate change goals, according to a scorecard out last month.

The scorecard, from the Washington D.C.-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), analyzed the climate policies and goals of 100 major U.S. cities and ranked them on a 0-100 scale.

Minneapolis was the fourth-ranked city for a second straight year. The council said the city maintained the ranking because of progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions, efforts to integrate equity into climate efforts and policies such as residential-energy disclosure.

Minneapolis established a climate action plan in 2013 that calls for reducing green- house gas emissions 30% by 2025, reducing energy use 17% by 2025 and generating 10% of electricity from local and renewable sources. The greenhouse gas emissions- reduction goal is compared to 2006 levels.

A 2018 ordinance calls for the 100% of the city’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.

Greenhouse gas emissions in Minneapolis dropped 17% in 2018 compared to 2006 levels, according to city data. About a third of the city’s energy comes from renewable sources, sustainability manager Kim Havey said this past summer.

Steps the city has taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage in recent years have included expanding its green business cost share program and offering 0% financing for low-income residents to make efficiency upgrades.

This month, the city announced that it will offer grants to businesses damaged during the civil unrest so they can make efficiency upgrades, such as more efficient heating and cooling systems.

Among city-owned properties, total carbon emissions decreased 19% and electricity usage decreased 12% year over year in 2019, according to a July report. Overall, city build- ings are producing 58% less carbon emissions compared to 2008 levels. The city said that’s because buildings are using less electricity and because Xcel Energy has added more wind- and solar-generated electricity to its grid. New York was the highest-ranked city, according to the ACEEE report. St. Paul, along with St. Louis, Missouri, was ranked the most-improved city, because of a new building energy-benchmarking policy and a goal to reduce vehicle miles traveled.