Rochester eyes 100 percent renewable energy by 2031

It's interesting to watch how evolving climate change science is driving policy at the local level.

Rochester appears to have become the latest Minnesota city to recognize the realities of climate change and propose action at the local level. I watched last night as Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede read a proclamation that Rochester will strive to set a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2031.

Brede read the proclamation in front of the crowd gathered for last night's Climate Generation Minnesota event at Rochester Community and Technical College. I was asked to speak at the event about climate changes globally and the effects in Minnesota.

The proclamation is not law, but sets forth a process for achieving the goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2031.

The big picture perspective here is interesting. Even as progress at the national level on climate change policy is slow to non-existent, many local communities have realized it is in their best interest to take action.

The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan was  adopted by the Minneapolis City Council on June 28, 2013. Other Minnesota cities and towns have also adopted climate change and renewable energy plans.

Increasingly, local and state governments are seeing are both financial and environmental benefits to going green on climate. There are now more than 15,000 climate related jobs in Minnesota and that number is growing.

As a meteorologist and climate science journalist, I don't advocate specific policy. But it is interesting to observe and report on the growing number of local cities that are adopting sound climate science as policy.

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