Globally, climate scientists agree that we need to substantially reduce emissions and make rapid and far reaching changes in all aspects of society to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.
Hennepin County has adopted ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals to reflect that need. These goals position Hennepin County as a leader on addressing climate change in the upper Midwest.
Net zero carbon emissions is achieved by “balancing” a limited amount of carbon released with offsets that remove carbon from the atmosphere. These emission reduction targets apply to both the geographic area of the county and county operations.
Hennepin County’s Climate Action Plan includes strategies to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changing climate in ways that reduce vulnerabilities and ensure a more equitable and resilient Hennepin County.Download the Climate Action Plan
Achieving the county's ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals will require big changes in the energy we use, how we get around, and the goods we buy. It also requires practices that remove carbon from the atmosphere and working in sync with our partners. These charts show the path forward to meeting the county’s goals.
Hennepin County's greenhouse gas emissions inventory summarizes countywide emissions from the following sources. About 2/3 of emissions come from energy use, 1/3 from transportation, and a small fraction from waste.
Starting after 2020, the solid line across the top of the chart is a forecast of business-as-usual based on anticipated population and job growth out to 2050. The dotted line trending down to 2050 shows how the county can meet its net zero greenhouse gas reduction goal. The stars at 2025 and 2030 show the emission reduction targets established by the county board.
On the energy side in blue, the county has a role to play in leading by example in achieving carbon-free electricity, making energy efficiency improvements, and electrifying buildings. The county will also support other local governments in adopting these efforts.
For transportation in green, the county plays an important role in reducing vehicle-related emissions within the county’s transportation network and supporting transit and transit-oriented development.
With waste and material use in purple, the county’s responsibility to manage a solid waste system provides numerous opportunities to advance waste reduction and recycling.
With carbon sequestration in gray, the county’s natural resources and land management work offer opportunities to improve soil health, restore habitats, plant trees, and use compost and biochar in landscaping projects.
This chart shows the county's previous greenhouse gas emission goals and progress toward meeting those goals.
Countywide greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by more than 15% from the 2005 baseline, meeting the county's previous goal.
Previously, the county was pursuing emissions reduction goals from both the geographic area of the county and from county operations from a 2005 baseline by:
The success in meeting the 2015 greenhouse emission reduction goal was largely due to Xcel Energy’s efforts to expand renewable energy sources. Emissions relating to waste and wastewater treatment, transportation, and energy generation from natural gas have changed little over the past 12 years. Significant reductions in all sectors will be needed to achieve the county's new goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The development of the climate action plan included multiple phases:
Staff from every line of business in the county were engaged in work teams to develop goals and strategies. A disparities reduction lens was applied to each of the brainstormed strategies.
The county’s approach to engagement began with internal coordination and commitment. It then expanded to include public entity and community group partners, and then residents and businesses more broadly.