Big, wavy palm trees shading the Minnesota State Capitol?

A picture of just that appeared Saturday on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s website, where an accompanying suspiciously breathless news release announced that it’s getting so warm in these parts that soon palm trees will thrive on boulevards from Worthington to Ely

The story begins:

“As our state’s climate heats up, many are noticing less snow, earlier springs, and more torrential rains.”

Well, so far, so good. That’s demonstrably true.

It continues:

“Another difference you might notice in the coming years is Minnesota roadways lined with palm trees.

“Many cities are busy taking the first step: starting palm seedlings in local greenhouses. ‘We have about 20,000 seedlings started, and they are so cute!’ exclaims farmer Susan Andre. These seedlings, she says, should be ready for planting along the city’s boulevards by spring of next year.

“Other cities across the state are also learning how to grow palm trees, most commonly the coconut palm. An official in Bemidji said that their city aims to be 90% forested by coconut palms by 2050.”

Fake news abounds these days, but this one was just a parody of “real” fake news, nonetheless fooling a few good folks who posted it on social media.

The key, as with the city of Ely’s annual prank (this year, it’s “Canoeber”) is the date posted above the story: April 1.

Still the MPCA’s “news release” had a serious purpose — to remind people that Minnesota’s climate is indeed changing.

At the story’s end, under the boldfaced word “Fact,” it said: “Sixteen of the top 17 hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000, with large rain events becoming more frequent.”