City of Minneapolis declares "climate emergency", demands massive mobilization

City will commit to several actions to combat the effect of climate change

Lindsey Peterson
December 13, 2019 - 1:16 pm

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The City of Minneapolis on Friday made a declaration to demand massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse and address the consequences and causes of climate change.  

In declaring a "climate emergency", the city has made a formal commitment to putting resources towards protecting "the economy, people, species and ecosystems" according to a release from the City Council.

City Council Member Cam Gordon, who authored the decleration, talked about it with WCCO Radio's Mark Freie. 

Gordon told WCCO, "We wanted to demonstrate, and to respond to requests, from our constituents and residents that we take the climate crisis seriously.  I think that we've already been doing a lot to address what's happening with climate change as a city, but this gave us a chance to articulate how concerned we are and set us up to take action into the future."  

Minneapolis is doing this on the heels of a group of 11,000 scientists who declared climate change an emergency this November.  Those scientists said in a study released through Oxford Academic that, "Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to 'tell it like it is.' On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency."

Those scientists are warning that the planet “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency,” and provides six broad policy goals that must be met to address it.

This study, released in November and clearly influencing the actions of Minneapolis and other communities worldwide, is taking a stronger stance thanks to this and other scientific assessments.  It marks the first time a large group of scientists formally came out in favor of labeling climate change an emergency.  The study says climate change is clearly human-caused with increasing amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.  

In their declaration of the climate emergency, Minneapolis lays out four areas it will commit to:

  • Establishing a “social cost of carbon”: a scientific, monetary measurement of greenhouse gas emissions’ damages to human health, food production, homes and businesses, and energy costs.
  • Establishing a Sustainable Building Policy to ensure that buildings constructed with the help of the City are as energy efficient as possible. Building energy use causes 73% of the pollution that causes climate change.
  • Demonstrating climate actions that bring more cities and more people along.
  • Pushing for an advanced building energy performance standard in a coalition of cities statewide.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has found that human-induced climate change is pushing the planet toward the sixth mass species extinction, which threatens the food security, water supply, and well-being of billions of people.

RELATED: Time Magazine makes Greta Thunberg it's "Person of the Year".

More than 900 other jurisdictions across the world have also joined Minneapolis' declaration, as has the U.S. House of Representatives and several environmental groups.  

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