I am hearing a lot about a Minneapolis Climate Action Plan and a People’s Climate and Equity Plan. Are they the same thing, and if not, what’s the difference?
Thanks for the timely question! The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan is the City’s ongoing effort to transition Minneapolis into a carbon-free future. The People’s Climate and Equity Plan is a citizen-driven initiative to do the same.
A little background on climate action in Minneapolis thus far: The City of Minneapolis implemented and passed a 10-year Climate Action Plan in 2013 to develop strategies for reducing the City’s climate impact in three key areas: Buildings and energy, transportation and land use, and waste and recycling. This plan is due to expire in 2025. In late 2019, the City Council and the Mayor passed a resolution declaring a Climate Emergency. They demanded a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse and address the consequences and causes of climate change.
Minneapolis Climate Equity Plan
Over the last year, the City’s Sustainability Department, a subsection of the City’s Department of Public Health, has been working to create a new 10-year framework to update the old Climate Action Plan with a focus on equity. The City Council will vote on it this spring. A draft of the new plan, called the Climate Equity Plan, was released on April 19 to the public for our review, and the City is collecting public feedback. The draft plan is 71 pages long and is organized by sectors that have the largest impact on carbon emissions and impact the health and wealth of people in Minneapolis.
The sectors are:
1. Healthy homes
2. Clean air
3. Zero waste circular economy
4. Green buildings and energy
5. Carbon-free energy systems
6. Green space and trees
7. Carbon-free transportation and complete streets
8. Clean water
9. Green economy and workforce
10. City operations and enterprise leadership.
If you would like to read the draft plan, you can find it here.
The plan is comprehensive, but it lacks specifics on funding the initiative. Many of the initiatives are innovative and necessary, though the details of how initiatives will be implemented could be more precise.
The City is encouraging the public to make comments on the draft plan. The comment period will close on June 5, and the City Council will vote on the Plan on June 15. Tangletown is part of Ward 11 in Minneapolis. Ward 11’s city council person is Emily Koski. Emily is hosting a town hall on the Climate Plan on May 2 at 7 pm at Pearl Park. Please attend to ensure your voice is heard!
People’s Climate and Equity Plan
MN350.org is a people-powered, non-profit group that works to “end the pollution damaging our climate, speed the transition to clean energy, and create a just and healthy future for all.” One of their current key initiatives is advancing funding for the People’s Climate and Equity Plan (PCEP). The PCEP is described as a local Green New Deal with a people-centered approach to implementing climate solutions that create jobs and reduce inequality.
The basic idea of the People’s Climate and Equity Plan is to set up a fund in Minneapolis of between $60-90 million per year to be used exclusively for insulating homes and converting residential buildings in Minneapolis to renewable energy sources for heating, cooling, and electrification. Communities of color and residential buildings in underserved neighborhoods would be prioritized as well as hiring contractors committed to hiring, training, and fairly compensating underserved populations to do the work. PCEP’s goals are bold: to transition all Minneapolis buildings to carbon-neutral heating and cooling by 2030 while reducing the racial wealth gap and ensuring every person has a safe, healthy, and climate-resilient neighborhood connected by accessible carbon-free transportation.
MN350.org has modeled its plan for Minneapolis on other cities nationwide that have successfully set up funding for climate justice initiatives, including Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Portland, Oregon (which passed a Portland Clean Energy Fund very similar to the PCEP). MN350.org is building a presence in every ward of Minneapolis to get the word out and build support for their plan with city council members and residents. Learn more about the PCEP and how to get involved here. Additionally, MN350.org’s Ward 11 representative is hosting a meeting to discuss the draft Minneapolis Climate Plan on May 7 at 3pm. at Turtle Bread Bakery (48th and Chicago Ave S).
Take some time to review both plans. They are bold and ambitious and envision a lot of transformation in the coming decade. They exhibit deep thought, meticulous research, and careful planning for the future of our City. I am grateful that we have a citizenry and city planners committed to climate action and keeping Minneapolis a great place to live and work.