The St. Paul City Council is poised to declare a climate emergency and join hundreds of communities across the country that have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise awareness about global climate change.
All seven council members indicated they will vote Wednesday to support the measure, which calls on the state and federal governments to help cities develop climate action plans and build more sustainable infrastructure.
In the last year, Minnesota's capital city faced a heat wave, experienced dangerous air quality from forest fires and had water restrictions caused by a drought.
"Extreme weather will create new challenges for St. Paul's infrastructure and finances and will pose a threat to the economic vitality of our residents and businesses," the council resolution says, adding that "the greatest burden from an inadequate response to the climate crisis will be felt by historically and continuing marginalized or underserved communities."
St. Paul approved a climate action plan in 2019 that pledged to achieve carbon neutrality in city operations by 2030 and citywide by 2050.
The resolution notes that the state government is missing targets set in 2007 for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. A report released Thursday said Minnesota's emissions have only dropped 8% from 2005 levels, though the state was aiming to pass the 15% mark by 2015.
"The climate crisis is here and now," Council Member Jane Prince said in an email Thursday. "On Wednesday the City Council will consider whether it's time to name and own it for the emergency it is."