Minnesota is vulnerable to floods, higher temperatures, species loss and more
Minnesota’s climate is already changing. In the past century, the state has warmed by 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainstorms are becoming more intense, and annual rainfall is increasing. In the future, Minnesota can expect more floods, damaging homes and infrastructure, and increasingly hot summers, which can negatively impact yields for some crops while extending the growing seasons for others.
- Heat: Extreme heat will increase in the Midwest region, increasing the likelihood of heat waves and increasing risks to public health. Rising temperatures only pose a health risk, but threaten crop yields as well. More than two-thirds of the Midwest is dedicated to agriculture and accounts for 65% of US corn and soybean production. Consequences from temperature increases and rainfall disruption will affect each crop differently. For corn, small long-term average temperature increases will shorten the duration of reproductive development. For soybeans, yields are likely to increase initially from carbon dioxide fertilization, but are projected to fall later in the century due to temperature stress.
- Floods: Rainfall during the four wettest days of the year has increased about 35%. During the next century, rainstorms are likely to become more intense and increased rainfall more likely, increasing the likelihood of flooding.
- Species loss: Plants and animals are likely to shift ranges due to climate change, which could dramatically affect the composition of Minnesota’s forests and fish habitats. Already, Moose populations are in decline due to exploding tick populations, rising temperatures, shorter winters and flourishing white-tailed deer and their parasites.
- Extreme weather: The rate of warming in the Midwest has accelerated over the past few decades. Several types of extreme weather have already increased in frequency and/or intensity due to climate change. In 2011, 11 of the 14 US weather-related disasters with damages of more than $1 billion affected the Midwest. Further increases in extreme weather frequency and/or intensity are projected.
- Adaptation: Since 2009, Minnesota state agencies have been collaborating on a state adaptation plans through the Interagency Climate Adaptation Team. ICAT is comprised of many MN state departments and agencies, and has issued several reports on adaptation, the latest in 2013.
Minnesota residents support clean energy and climate regulations
- According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 69% of Minnesota residents recognize that global warming is happening. The Project finds that 75% of residents support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and 84% support funding research into renewable energy sources.
Minnesota is a leader in wind development
- Minnesota generated 17% of its electricity with wind power in 2016 and ranks 6th in the nation with 3,500 MW of installed capacity, enough to power 983,000 homes. The wind industry employs 3,000-4,000 people in Minnesota, with 20 active manufacturing facilities in the state.
- Minnesota has two nuclear plants, Monticello and Prairie Island, which accounted for 23% of the state’s net electricity generation in 2016.
- Minnesota adopted a renewable portfolio standard in 2007. The state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, is required to generate 31.5% of its sales from renewables by 2020. Other utilities must derive 25% of sales from renewables by 2025. Wind energy has historically been the renewable resource of choice to meet the RPS requirements in Minnesota.
- Minnesota ranked 12th in the nation in solar in 2016 with 372 MW of solar installed. The solar industry provides 2,870 jobs in 142 companies throughout the value chain.