A deadline is fast approaching to provide feedback on Minnesota's plan for climate action.
The Climate Action Framework, currently in draft form, will set a vision for how Minnesotans will address and prepare for climate change across all sectors.
Climate scientists say it's now or never to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and reverse course before the planet becomes unviable for many, with the Earth experiencing increasingly extreme weather, such as the terrifying unseasonal heat being experienced right now in India and Pakistan.
A massive United Nations climate report released this month gives a timeline of only three years to take meaningful action and prevent the worst outcomes of warming.
In Minnesota, a shorter ice season and more frequent weather extremes are harbingers of worsening climate change; Minnesota has already warmed 3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895.
State officials say the Minnesota Climate Action Framework will be a catalyst for climate action across all sectors and set forth a plan for taking immediate, near-term steps towards Minnesota's climate goals.
"At its core, it lays a foundation towards a carbon-neutral future," said Katrina Kessler, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, during a community event last month.
The framework itself is organized into six chapters.
Each chapter outlines the sector's key challenges, identifies state priority actions and explains how the state will measure success.
Feedback is being collected on the draft plan until Friday, April 29. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goal 1: Clean transportation
The transportation sector carries the most pressing need for swift and decisive climate action, according to the framework.
Priority actions proposed in the plan include additional funding for non-motorized transportation, increased transit service, clean fuel standards, and more electric vehicle infrastructure.
Take a survey, read a summary and find the full chapter on clean transportation here.
Goal 2: Climate-smart natural and working lands
Restoring healthy and natural working lands and creating resilient landscapes are another critical goal of the framework.
Last year, Minnesota faced a serious drought only two years after the wettest year on record.
Thom Petersen, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, said over a million acres were unable to be planted in southwest Minnesota last year due to drought.
"That just highlights the extremes that we're in right now for agriculture," he said during last month's community meeting.
Land management goals in the framework include accelerating land restoration efforts, promoting local and community-based agriculture, adopting practices that helps the land store more carbon, increasing water storage, and protecting and expanding natural habitats.
Find the full chapter on land management here.
Goal 3: Resilient communities
Preparing communities to adapt to climate change is another focus of the report.
Action steps include planting climate-adaptive shade trees to decrease energy usage, adopting resilient design standards through city codes, and more funding and technical assistance for local communities.
Find the full chapter on resilient communities here.
Goal 4: Clean energy and efficient buildings
In the building sector, climate change is driving greater heating and cooling demands and worsening greenhouse gas emissions.
Reaching 55% renewable electricity by 2040 is one goal set on Minnesota's path towards achieving 100% carbon-free electricity.
"Minnesotans statewide benefit from investments in clean energy, lower-emitting technology, and energy efficiency through more jobs, lower energy costs, and a more stable climate," the framework reads.
Find the full chapter on the energy sector here.
Goal 5: Healthy lives and communities
People and communities are not impacted equally by climate change — rather, existing inequities place some communities at greater risk of harm.
The framework outlines action to ensure healthcare facilities are climate resilient, improve access to mental health services for issues related to climate-driven events, and better track and monitor the health impacts of climate change.
Find the full chapter on health here.
Goal 6: Clean economy
Lastly, the framework explores how Minnesota will build a cleaner economy around climate solutions designed to benefit everyone.
The plan includes action steps to train Minnesotans for clean-economy jobs. grow the clean energy business, and better prepare communities for the transition.
Find the full chapter on the clean economy here.