The city of Edina will begin creating a climate action plan this month in order to address environmental goals.

The city’s new sustainability coordinator, Grace Hancock, provided an update to the Energy & Environment Commission on Dec. 10 about the process of creating a climate action plan, a long-sought goal in the city.

The first steps include approving the charge of a likely seven-person working group and establishing its membership, which will include two or three individuals from the Energy & Environment Commission. The group will begin work in February, Hancock said.

Last month, the city issued a request for proposal for professional services to help develop the climate action plan. This would include a consultant to help with technical details, who Hancock said would work with her and the working group to provide recommendations on how to build the plan.

The plan would include an inventory on greenhouse gas in the city, ways to track progress, strategies to adapt to climate changes and reduce environmental impact, community engagement opportunities and a prioritization guide on best next steps.

Hancock said she hopes the plan will be finalized and approved by the City Council by the end of 2021.

This plan is a year behind schedule, according to discussions that took place in 2019, which placed the goal for the plan to be completed by the end of 2020.

But Edina has already taken steps to address climate change. In 2019, the City Council approved a Climate Inheritance Resolution, which officially recognized the 2018 warnings from the United Nation on climate change impact. It also had a citywide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2025 and by 80% by 2050.

After not meeting its previous goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 15% by 2015, though, the city created an Electricity Action Plan, according to then-Commission Chair Carolyn Jackson.

Now as City Councilmember-elect, Jackson has continued to state her commitment to addressing climate change concerns in the city through a climate action plan.

And the impacts of climate change are tangible. City staff members have attributed, in the past, increasing rainfall and local flooding to climate change. According to past city documents, taking steps to reduce the effects of climate change will help mitigate the costs of flooding, damage from severe weather and negative health effects like asthma.

– Follow Caitlin Anderson on Twitter @EdinaSunCurrent

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