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Climate change top of mind for many Minnesotans during warm winter

How Minnesota communities are adjusting to impact of climate change
How Minnesota communities are adjusting to impact of climate change 02:23

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — As our wildly warm winter rages on, it's safe to say climate change is at the top of our minds. That's the case year-round for many communities and agencies across Minnesota working to grow more resilient.

"I don't think there's a single corner of this region that will be untouched or hasn't already experienced some sort of impact from climate change, just in the last 10 years alone," said Lisa Barajas, executive director of community development with the Metropolitan Council.

READ MORE: 2023 was the planet's hottest year on record, and climate-related disaster costs are mounting

According to the Met Council, insurance premiums in the Twin Cities have increased by 366% since 1998. Intense rainfall and drought are crushing the agriculture community, severe storms and flooding are stressing our roads and homes, and extreme temperatures are causing trouble for our parks and trails.

"We have to start taking steps today in order to get to where we want to be in 2050. And that's the type of work that we're doing today is and have been doing over the last 20, 30 years," Barajas said.

The Met Council updates its plan every decade. The newest plan looks ahead to 2050, when they hope the region will be net zero when it comes to carbon emissions. Collaboration with local governments is a crucial part of that plan. 

RELATED: 2023 was hottest year on record as Earth closed in on critical warming mark, European agency confirms

In Bloomington, one of their big initiatives is a curbside cleanup program, which even includes organics.

"Stuff that would typically end up in a landfill that old coats that still has life in there, that mattress, instead of ending up in a landfill, more than 5 tons of material is now either recycled or reused," said Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse.

Busse said more projects to help the city become more resilient — like installing solar panels and EV charging stations — are in the works and it's all thanks to the community.

"It was the residents telling us they wanted it to happen. And as part of that, also, in a couple of weeks, we're going to be looking at a $300,000 budget item to do climate mitigation plan within the city of Bloomington," Busse said.

"We know it takes all of us to make a difference and that there isn't just one single solution that we can have, or one thing that we can buy or one technology that's going to answer climate change for us," Barajas said.

A statewide survey shows 75% of Minnesota governments or organizations have some sort of climate plan in place. That's helped the state's overall greenhouse gas emissions drop 23% between 2005 and 2020.

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