City Council adopts Climate Action Plan

Roots and Shoots club anticipates green future


Caroline Green

Junior Anna Kasper makes a speech to the City Council urging them to pass the Climate Action Plan. The plan has the hopes of reaching net zero emissions in St. Louis Park by 2040.

Nicole Sanford

Senior Roots and Shoots club leader Lukas Wrede said the adoption of a Climate Action Plan by City Council Feb. 5 left him feeling eager for an environmentally friendly future.

“I expected (the meeting) to go smoothly and I expected it to pass and obviously I couldn’t prepare myself for the overwhelming positive feedback,” Wrede said. “The Council was so supportive and so forward thinking. They’re a really neat council in Minnesota.”

According to City Council member Tim Brausen, City Council’s adoption of the Climate Action Plan ensures the city will make a conscious effort to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

“The plan is a wide-reaching blueprint for the city and its citizens and all the residents and businesses to reach a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and carbon neutrality, that is we won’t be giving off any greenhouse emissions, by 2040,” Brausen said.

Wrede said students should care about and support the Climate Action Plan because its efforts will directly affect them in the years to come.

“The thing that (students) can bring to the table is sort of this energy because we’re such an important stakeholder because it’s literally entailing what our future is going to look like, so it’s really kind of up to us on what we want it to be because it’s our future,” Wrede said.

According to Brausen, future environmental benefits will offset current costs.

“The time has reallycome to switch away from what’s cheap and inexpensive and easiest to doing what’s healthy and what’s sustainable and what’s responsible,” Brauson said. “It’s probably going to have some cost involved in it, certainly there’s going to be some immediate costs, but the payback should be a healthy and sustainable community.”

Wrede said while it took a long time for a City Council meeting to get scheduled, the outcome proved worth the wait.

“We’ve been waiting for a while now for this to get voted on and it did. (Feb. 5) was the voting of (the plan) and we had three people from Roots and Shoots present to Council,” Wrede said. “We really don’t know what St. Louis Park is going to look like by 2040, but whatever it’s going to look like it’s going to run on green energy, clean electricity and sustainability and green space.”

Overall, Brausen said many people contributed to the creation of the plan.

“(The Climate Action Plan) was the work of an awful lot of people, and some of the people in Roots and Shoots have been involved in it, but our Environment Sustainability Commission really took the lead,” Brausen said. “We had some great citizen leaders on there who were actually specialists in the fields of environmental sustainability, so we had a lot of really good professionals working really hard on this for two years.”

According to Wrede, this plan’s effort to create zero greenhouse gas emissions in a span of only twenty two years makes it one of the most ambitious environmental goals statewide.

“This plan is the most aggressive climate action plans in the whole state and one of the most aggressive in the whole country. The goal of net zero by 2040 is super, super aggressive, especially for a city of our size of 50,000 plus (people),” Wrede said. “It’s going to be really, really hard (to achieve).”

Brausen said City Council plans to begin implementing projects in the city supporting the new adoption.

“We’re going to do three different kick start projects in 2018 designed to really catalyze engagement with the community and build some momentum for change, and then we’ve got some intermediate climate goals that we will reach by 2030,” Brausen said. “We’re going to have some youth lead projects, we’re going to start installing additional electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city (…) and then we’ve also got another couple projects that are in the design stage right now.”

Wrede said he appreciates the positive relationship between City Council and the Roots and Shoots club.

“I’m really, really excited,” Wrede said. “There was an energy to the room, there’s an energy between the club and the council (and) we’re in this together. It’s really, really powerful.”