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How Hennepin County is leading on climate action

Acting boldly

Acting boldly on climate change will enable us to create a better future for ourselves and generations to come. In laying out a comprehensive plan with ambitious goals, Hennepin County is committed to leading on climate action.

Our approach

The Climate Action Plan articulates a framework to realize our vision for a climate-friendly future. The following articles explain how the county will approach implementation. 

foundational strategies

How we get started: Foundational strategies

Hennepin County has a wide-ranging climate action plan that touches nearly every facet of the work we do. The foundational strategies serve as the best place for the county to get started.

Aerial view of Hennepin County Government Center and other buildings in downtown Minneapolis

Aligning resources to make climate action a countywide priority

As the county moves into implementation of the climate action plan, we will demonstrate that climate action is a countywide priority for all departments, and we will align resources with this priority.

Boy sitting on playground

Reducing racial disparities and seeking climate justice

The impacts of the climate crisis are not felt equally, making the response to climate change a justice issue that requires authentically engaging with communities, advancing efforts to dismantle systemic racism, and reducing disparities.

Person sweeping water out of flooded house, photo credit Star Tribune

Building strong, more resilient communities that can adapt to a changing climate

Because we are already experiencing the effects of climate change, we not only need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions but also adapt to a changing climate. Building a more resilient community ensures we are better prepared for more abrupt and challenging situations.

Group of people in a conference room standing at a wall discussing ideas

Working with public entity partners for greater impact

Public entity partners, including cities, watershed organizations, park districts, and other regional and state units of government, are very interested in pursuing mutually beneficial climate goals and encouraged the county to serve in a role of convener.

Woman standing at front of room giving a presentation

Engaging with the public and supporting community-driven solutions

Recognizing that transformative climate policies must be driven and supported by the public, the county is engaging residents and listening to how climate change is impacting them to collectively build support for solutions.

Climate solutions

Hennepin County’s response to climate change is important. The county leads in many areas that offer the most effective ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions, such as investing in transit, conserving energy use in our buildings, protecting natural resources, and preventing waste. The county must also work toward eliminating disparities in our response to climate change and prioritize protecting the health of residents amid increasing threats.

These articles highlight some of the climate solutions the county is currently pursuing. More climate solutions will be added as the county works to fully implement and integrate the Climate Action Plan.
Adult and three kids playing soccer on a field with downtown Minneapolis in the background

Mapping the urban heat island

Hennepin and Ramsey counties are partnering with volunteer community scientists this summer to gather data to better understand heat in urban areas. This project is part of NOAA’s 2024 Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign. Learn how to get involved.

Woman standing in field of tall prairie grass

Permanent land protection leaves a conservation legacy

Conservation easements are a powerful tool for safeguarding natural resources, preserving habitat, and protecting ecological diversity. In Hennepin County, we are working to establish 6,000 additional acres of conservation easements by 2040 to help make our communities more resilient to climate change.

Three green pathways interns in hard hats and safety vests standing in front of Hennepin Energy Recover Center and Target Field sign

Green jobs pathways increase access to environmental careers for diverse job seekers

The county is trying new ways to recruit, train, and retain Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in green jobs. Learn about green jobs pathways and career training programs the county offered this summer.

Graphic that says help us reach our goal of diverting 90% of waste from landfills and incinerators

Mapping a zero-waste future

Hennepin County is developing a Zero Waste Plan that will advance greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies related to the materials we use and waste we create outlined in the Climate Action Plan.

Construction worker in the sun working on house framing

How climate change is impacting summer heat

A detailed understanding of climate science is needed to understand the true impact that climate change is having on our summers. Learn about long-term climate trends impacting heat and humidity in Hennepin County, who is most impacted, and weather measurements that are helping people be to spend time outside on hot and humid days.

Hennepin County Public Health employee testing beach water

Keeping our beaches safe

Minnesotans love visiting lakes and beaches throughout the summer. But keeping an eye on water safety is increasingly important since climate change is expected to increase water-related illness.

Victorian house on a trailer ready for move

Salvaging and reusing building materials to combat climate change

During remodeling and construction projects, building materials have a high potential to be salvaged and reused. This avoids the need for new materials and prevents additional emissions that contribute to climate change. The county offers grants to make deconstruction and designing with used building materials more affordable.

Woman holding boxes of rescued food by open car trunk

Food rescue diverts excess food to people in need

Wasting food has upstream climate impacts. It wastes energy used to grow, produce, transport and store food products. When food makes it to the landfill, it has a direct effect on climate change. As a leader in waste management, the county is focusing on reducing food waste. It’s one of the single most effective solutions to address climate change.

Emergency Management staff monitoring for frost depth

New, local data helps combat winter weather hazards

Frost depth and freezing rain can contribute to potential hazards such as frozen water mains, spring flooding, and icy roads. Learn how to county is collecting and using local weather data to detect potential hazards and keep important infrastructure and utilities operating.

Single plow truck on county road in city

Keeping waters clean and healthy while keeping county roads safe and drivable

Hennepin County has reduced the salt it uses on county roads to keep waters clean while ensuring roads are safe and drivable for everyone.

Person on a ladder changing an office light fixture

Hennepin County celebrates ongoing energy savings

Simple steps in Hennepin County office spaces yielded huge savings.

Collage of public health images and title saying Public Health's new climate change committee looks to the future

New committee connects public health and climate action

Hennepin County Public Health launched a climate action plan committee in May 2021, to determine the department’s role in addressing the county’s Climate Action Plan. Learn about the public health-climate connection and what motivated committee members to get involved.

bike transit

Blue Line light rail extension will increase transit access

Hennepin County is partnering with Metro Transit to extend the Blue Line light rail from downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park. Community feedback on potential routes is being gathered now.

Girl with shovel digging a hole next to a sidewalk during a volunteer tree planting event

Establishing goals to protect and diversify the county’s tree canopy

The county's first Community Forestry Strategic Plan defines goals and objectives that the county’s forestry program will pursue in the next five years to protect the county’s tree canopy and increase the benefits that trees provide.

Hennepin County mesonet storm

Monitoring for extreme weather in a changing climate

Hennepin County is improving weather forecasting, making informed decisions about the weather conditions, and increasing our understanding of Hennepin County’s climate with the Hennepin West Mesonet.

Kitchen shelf with jars of pantry staples

Working to eliminate plastic waste

Hennepin County recently joined the U.S. Plastics Pact to build on county efforts to support residents and businesses who want to take action on plastic waste and pollution.


Improving biking in Hennepin County

Reducing vehicle miles traveled is critical to meeting our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, and many car trips can be replaced by biking. Learn about our goals for increasing biking.