considered THE TRADE center of the Midwestern United States, Minnesota has a population of approximately 5 million people, ranking 21st in population among American states. Around 60 percent of the population resides in the Twin Cities of St. Paul, the state capital, and Minneapolis. The Twin Cities are home to the third largest trucking center in the United States. Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and Duluth, the fourth largest city in the state, is the largest inland trade center in America. Global warming and climate change impact Minnesota in a number of ways. Animal and plant habitats are threatened by shifting forests and grasslands. Floods and violent storms are threatening lives and property. Pests and diseases are expected to migrate into the state. Air and water quality is threatened, and smoggy summer days pose serious risks to health and the environment. The habitats of coldwater fish are jeopardized. Tourism and recreation are placed at risk from shorter winters. The focus of Minnesota's actions to reduce global warming and climate change is on educating the public, reducing pollution, ensuring clean air and water, instituting responsible land use, promoting conservation, and ensuring sustainable community development.
Between 1900 and 2001, the population of Minnesota increased by 13 percent. During that period, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose by 22 percent, reaching 95.9 million metric tons. Minnesota consumes some 2,600 million gallons of gasoline each year, and transportation accounts for 45 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. The state has the 22nd highest level of CO2 emissions in the country. Since the 1990s, Minnesota has placed restrictions on CO2 emission levels. As a result of these concentrated efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Minnesota increased CO2 efficiency by 20 percent 19902001. Ethanol is increasingly replacing gasoline in Minnesota. Ethanol plants provide farmers with an outlet for low-priced corn, and the 14 plants in the state produce more than 350 gallons of ethanol each year. Minnesota is one of more than 30 states that have agreed to develop a Greenhouse Gas Registry as part of a cooperative effort to reduce global warming and climate change.
In 2005, the Office of Environmental Assistance and the Pollution Control Agency were combined to create the new Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which was given responsibility for promoting recycling, controlling pollution, educating the public, providing environmental assistance to local governments and the business community, advancing the concept of sustainable community development, generating policy, supporting environmental research, promoting green building practices, and providing grants and financial assistance for environmentally-motivated projects. The Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Board of Water and Soil Resources also have a role in protecting the state's environment.
In 2007, Minnesota began implementing the governor's Next Generation Energy Initiative. The legislature passed the 25x25 Renewable Electricity Requirements bill, which mandated that 25 percent of Minnesota's electricity be renewable by 2025. As part of the Next Generation BioEnergy and BioFuels provisions, the legislature appropriated $35 million for energy projects and research directed toward the development and use of alternative energy sources. The Next Generation Energy Act also calls for statewide greenhouse gas emission reductions of 15 percent of 2005 levels by 2015, 30
percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050. The bill also established the goal of having 1,000 environmentally friendly Energy Star Buildings in Minnesota by 2010. The governor further proposed an increase from 300 to 1,800 E85 gasoline pumps by 2010, promising that grants would be available for service station owners who install the new pumps, which dispense a fuel mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
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