Climate Smart Municipalities

What is the Climate Smart Municipality Program?Climate Smart Municipalities Participants - Crop

Since 2016, Elk River, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and Warren have represented their communities and the State of Minnesota in the Climate Smart Municipalities program. The Climate Smart Municipalities program is coordinated by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment and funded through the German government’s Transatlantikprogramm

What started out as a three-year partnership was extended by the German government for two additional years. The goal of the program is to learn about the unique energy and climate issues the partner cities face, and collaborate to create innovative programs and practices that will push us all toward becoming more sustainable communities, both locally and globally. 

How Does This Partnership Work?Climate Smart Municipalities - Fall 2019 Trip

In July 2019, a delegation of German government officials visited Minnesota and in September, Planning Manager Zack Carlton traveled to Elk River's partner city Iserlohn, located in the German state of North Rhein-Westphalia. While there, Carlton will gain valuable knowledge about innovative programs and practices, visit climate-smart energy facilities and work with partner communities to develop specific strategies for reducing our energy footprint while boosting the local economy. Senior Planner Chris Leeseberg crafted the creative plaque (pictured here) which includes city boundary lines, logos and a wind turbine with the two downward blades pointing to the location of each city hall.

Pictured left to right, Elk River staff involved in Climate Smart Municipalities: Chris Leeseberg, Senior Planner, Amanda Erickson, Environmental Coordinator, Cal Portner, City Administrator, and Zack Carlton, Planning Manager

Additional Information

Learn more about Climate Smart Municipalities by visiting the program website

In 2018, TPT produced a documentary highlighting this unique partnership, which can be viewed here: Climate Smart: Cities Working Together.