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Trees are surrounded by neat arrangements of grass against a sidewalk and street in Minneapolis.

Green Cities Accord Summer Newsletter 2023

As the Twin Cities experiences another summer of unusual heat, drought, and a new scourge – wildfire smoke – Green Minneapolis’ Twin Cities Climate Resiliency Initiative couldn’t be more timely and important. A healthy tree canopy is the best way to mitigate urban heat islands, reduce particulate air pollution and capture stormwater from extreme precipitation storms. Read on for updates on how our urban tree canopy work is making the Twin Cities more livable for all of us.

And on a cooler note, don’t let this summer pass you by without heading down to Peavey Plaza to enjoy one of our upcoming free music and dance performances. Peavey Plaza is a great place to experience the power of mature tree canopy to create welcoming outdoor places even on the hottest days – and whether you come to see one of our performances, or just to dip your toes in the water, I know you’ll enjoy this leafy oasis in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

David Wilson
Board Chair, Green Minneapolis

Green Minneapolis Announces Two New Urban Tree Carbon Offset Projects

Green Minneapolis’s Twin Cities Climate Resiliency Initiative gained momentum this summer with the addition of two new urban tree carbon offset projects.

Green Minneapolis is excited to announce a partnership with Hennepin County focused on increasing the number of trees planted and maintained across the most populous county in Minnesota. Our first project together, the Hennepin County Planting Project 2022, was unanimously approved by the Hennepin County Board in June and achieved third-party verification in July. The project includes 968 trees representing 40 different species planted on county land across Hennepin County between 2020 and 2022. Under the requirements for the project, these trees will be maintained and protected for 25 years, and are estimated to store 2,045 metric tons of carbon over the 25-year project duration. Proceeds from the sale of the carbon offsets generated by the project will be used exclusively for the planting and maintenance of additional trees. Green Minneapolis and Hennepin County are also exploring new approaches for expanding tree canopy across the county, including establishing agreements that will allow Hennepin County to plant trees on freeway right of way land owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Green Minneapolis also completed a new urban tree carbon offset project this summer in partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). MPRB Planting Project 2022 was approved by the MPRB in May, and achieved third-party verification in July. The project includes 8,595 trees – and over 80 tree species – planted along streets and in parks across the City of Minneapolis in 2022 and is estimated to store 17,882 metric tons of carbon over the 25-year project duration, along with improving air quality, rain interception for stormwater management and energy use reductions. This is the second project to be completed with the MPRB under a program designed to complete new carbon offset tree projects annually.

With the completion of these two new projects, Green Minneapolis has enrolled over 33,000 urban trees in its carbon offset program, ensuring that these trees will be protected and maintained for at least 25 years and generating funding for planting thousands of new trees.


ICROA Endorses City Forest Credits Standard

Green Minneapolis’s carbon registry partner, City Forest Credits (CFC), has joined a short and exclusive list of endorsed carbon credit standards by the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Accreditation (ICROA) and is one of only 5 carbon registries in the US endorsed by ICROA. CFC is a not-for-profit carbon registry and the only national carbon registry for greenhouse gas emission reduction and removal for urban tree projects. Green Minneapolis congratulates City Forest Credits on this prestigious and important recognition!

ICROA’s review was comprehensive and exhaustive. ICROA endorsed the CFC standard which includes CFC’s programmatic elements, from governance to conflicts of interest to issuance of credits. ICROA’s endorsement elevates CFC credits into the top tier of high-quality carbon offset credits.

ICROA is based in Geneva and is the premier endorsement entity for carbon registries globally. ICROA’s endorsement confers international credibility for City Forest Credits and is a powerful validation of CFC’s work to bring public interest credits generated by nonprofits and local governments to the carbon offset market with transparency and integrity.

Green Minneapolis Accepts Minnesota Community Forestry Award for Innovation

In July, Michaela Neu on behalf of Green Minneapolis accepted the Minnesota Community Forestry Award for Innovation from the Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee. We are honored that our work to develop Minnesota’s first urban tree carbon offset program through our Twin Cities Climate Resiliency Initiative was recognized. Thank you to the Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee and Minnesota Society of Arboriculture for this award and to Davey Tree for the nomination.

Xcel Energy’s Carbon Offset Purchase Will Help Grow the Twin Cities’ Urban Tree Canopy

Last month, Xcel Energy joined the Twin Cities Climate Resiliency Initiative by making the largest investment yet in Green Minneapolis’s urban tree carbon offset program. The company’s purchase of 1,428 City Forest Carbon+ Credits generated $36,788 in new funding to help protect and expand the tree canopy in Minneapolis. This carbon offset purchase is a pilot of a proposed 5 year partnership between Xcel Energy and Green Minneapolis under which Xcel plans to purchase high-quality carbon offsets to help reduce the impact of its natural gas business.

Carbon offset programs allow companies to compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions by investing in projects that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By voluntarily purchasing carbon offsets, companies can take ownership of their contributions to climate change by reducing their net carbon emissions over time.

The offsets purchased by Xcel Energy are generated by Green Minneapolis’s 2022 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Tree Planting Project. The proceeds from the sale of these offsets will be used by the MPRB to increase funding for planting and maintaining additional trees across the City of Minneapolis.

CenterPoint Energy’s Innovation Plan Includes Partnering with Green Minneapolis’ Twin Cities Climate Resiliency Initiative

CenterPoint Energy has filed an Innovation Plan with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission under Minnesota’s Natural Gas Innovation Act (NGIA).

The plan includes 18 pilot projects that advance production of renewable, low-carbon energy sources, strategic electrification and innovative energy efficiency programs, and additional strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with natural gas end uses.

As defined in the plan, CenterPoint Energy will purchase carbon offsets from Green Minneapolis and retire them on behalf of CenterPoint Energy customers. Green Minneapolis’ program offers the only carbon offsets included in CenterPoint Energy’s plan.

Don’t Miss Out on Summer at Peavey Plaza!

Only two months remain of Summer at Peavey Plaza! – our summer long series of over 100 free performances, from live music to dance, including our 2023 artist in residence, Phil Thompson.

Through the end of September, Peavey Plaza is the place to go downtown for free music, dance and theater performances. Join us every Wednesday and Thursday lunch hour for performances by MNspin artists and every Saturday morning for Music in Motion with the Children’s Theatre Company, perfect for families with children. And don’t miss the Peavey Plaza Piano Bar brought to you by Phil Thompson every Tuesday afternoon and his last two Tribute Concerts of the season, coming up Thursday, August 17 – Legends of Country Music – and Thursday, September 21, Billy Joel’s and Elton John’s greatest hits!

For a complete listing of performances and activities, visit greenminneapolis.org/events.

Thank you to our sponsors that make all our performances free to the public, and allow us to pay our artists for their time and talents. A special call out to our lead sponsors Comcast, Minneapolis Foundation, WCCO, Midwest Home and Minnesota Monthly. And thank you to our additional sponsors Ameriprise Financial, Bond&Devick Wealth Partners, Brit’s Pub, Caribou Coffee, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Kowalski’s Market and MARTINPATRICK3, New Horizon Academy, Sleep Number and Target Center.

Support Green Minneapolis

Green Minneapolis is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) conservancy with the mission to advance the vibrancy of the Twin Cities through parks and greening. Our vision is to grow a green future for our city, with tree-lined streets and active public spaces that enrich quality of life, create a healthier environment and connect people through place.

Want to support the Twin Cities Climate Resiliency Initiative, future Peavey Plaza Programming and more? Please consider a donation to Green Minneapolis.

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