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Hennepin County’s Climate Action Plan

Our goal: net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Goal graphic that says reduce emissions 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050Globally, 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.

Climate Action Plan strategies

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.

View the Climate Action Plan
PDF (91 pages - 8MB)

Download the Climate Action Plan 

Explore the strategies

Protect and engage people, especially vulnerable communities
Enhance public safety
Increase the resilience of the built environment and protect natural resources
Reduce emissions in ways that align with core county functions and priorities
Partner in ways that can be most impactful

The path to achieving our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals

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.

Greenhouse gas emission trends in Hennepin County

The 2006 to 2020 Hennepin County greenhouse gas emissions inventory and analysis (PDF) provides a high-level overview of greenhouse gas emissions trends in the county since 2006. This emissions inventory accounts for emissions generated within county boundaries from electricity and natural gas use, vehicle travel, and waste and wastewater.

In 2020, 64% of emissions countywide came from building energy use, 33% from vehicle travel, and 3% from waste and wastewater management.

Hennepin County’s emissions decreased 13% from 2006 to 2019 and an additional 19% from 2019 to 2020. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, data from 2020 is considered an anomaly and is discussed separately in the report from 2006 to 2019 trends.

The main reasons for the emission reductions are cleaner electricity supplied by Xcel Energy, improved energy efficiency and conservation in commercial and industrial buildings, and less travel per person.

This chart shows the county's previous and current greenhouse gas emission goals and progress toward meeting those goals.

Significant reductions in all sectors will be needed to achieve the county's new goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

How the plan was developed

The development of the climate action plan included multiple phases:

  • Phase 1: Research and assessment on climate change impacts and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Phase 2: Develop goals and strategies
  • Phase 3: Review, build support, and seek approval
  • 2021 and beyond: Seek and facilitate partnerships to accomplish the work

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.

Supporting documents

Community engagement

Key findings from the research and assessment phase