This week, the White House made public that the City of
Minneapolis has won designation as a “Climate Action Champion.
We are one of sixteen cities and counties to be given this designation, along
with San Francisco, Seattle, and others.
This is somewhat ironic, given that we’re in the middle of a
rather public debate about whether we want to fully fund the commitments we’ve
made to climate action. I’m hoping that this will help remind my
colleagues of the importance of the Clean Energy Partnership – which was one of
the key arguments we made in our successful application for this honor.
In order to retain our reputation for being a leader on climate policy,
we have to continue to actually lead.
It’s also important to note that the work of the Partnership
is not the limit of our work on climate change. The Council has also
adopted a set of short-term, two-year priorities for implementing the Climate
Action Plan. This is the existing work of our two-person Sustainability
This Climate Action Champion recognition does not come with
direct funding attached. It does come with an opportunity to seek federal
grants from multiple agencies. While there are not funds for City functions like staffing our end of the Clean
Energy Partnership, there may be potential future funds that could help the City
and utilities implement
the programs the Partnership creates. This
makes it even more important
that we fully support the work of the
Partnership, because we can only seek funding for projects that we can develop.
From the City’s press release:
As part of President Obama’s strategy on reducing greenhouse
gas emissions, the White House launched the Climate Action Champions
competition in October to identify and recognize local climate leaders and to
provide targeted federal support to help those communities reach their climate
and energy goals.
This designation comes with some clear we will benefit from
facilitated peer-to-peer learning and mentorship and targeted support from a
range of federal programs. Furthermore, a coordinator will be provided to each
Climate Action Champion to foster coordination and communication across the
federal agencies, national organizations, and foundations in support of the
champions. The coordinator will also assist efforts to raise awareness of
funding and technical assistance opportunities that are available specifically
for Climate Action Champions. Resources come from federal agencies including
the Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior,
the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Minneapolis won the designation because of its commitment to
clean energy. The City and its electricity and natural gas utilities, Xcel
Energy and CenterPoint Energy, have committed to a first-of-its-kind in the
nation City-utility Clean
. The partnership will result in the City and utility
companies collaborating in new ways to help Minneapolis achieve its climate and
energy goals. These goals include making energy affordable and reliable for
everyone while increasing energy efficiency, increasing renewable energy and
reducing greenhouse gases. The City of Minneapolis has also developed the
, which includes greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets
15 percent by 2015, 30 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050.
From deep droughts to fierce wildfires, severe storms to
rising seas, communities across the United States are already grappling with
the impacts of extreme weather and climate change. Faced with these new
challenges, many cities, towns, counties, and tribes in every region of the
country are stepping up to cut carbon pollution, deploy more clean energy,
boost energy efficiency, and build resilience in their communities to climate
From creating climate-smart building codes to installing
green infrastructure to setting targets for reducing energy consumption, the 16
local and tribal communities selected as Climate
have considered their climate vulnerabilities and
taken decisive action to cut carbon pollution and build resilience.