Event Info

University of Minnesota, Institute on the Environment



Date and Time
Do 05.10. - Do 07.12.2023

“Together, We are Smarter”—Climate-Smart Municipalities Minnesota + NRW impact network

The Climate-Smart Municipalities program is a transformative multi-partner collaboration between Minnesota and NRW with over 200 actively involved members who meet once every month for lively virtual gatherings. Hosted by the University of Minnesota’s interdisciplinary Institute on the Environment, CSM began in 2016 as part of the German government’s renowned Transatlantikprogramm. “Climate-Smart Municipalities: Modeling Integrated Energy Communities for the 21st Century” brings together stakeholders and leaders in local and state government, politics, business, the nonprofit sector, academia, and the public to learn from each other and to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable, efficient and climate friendly future at the local level. Sustainability, climate protection, climate adaptation, renewable energy, clean transportation and energy efficiency are central topics for the exchange. Together, we command deeper expertise, are able to look at things from a much broader range of perspectives and create better and more imaginative solutions to our regions’ climate challenges.

What began in 2016 as a city-focused technical exchange with six city pairs from NRW and MN has since blossomed into an expanding network.

In NRW, the cities of Muenster, Saerbeck, Arnsberg, Iserlohn and Luedenscheid and Steinfurt County are core members. In Minnesota, core members include the cities of Morris, Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud, Warren, White Bear Lake, St. James, New Ulm, Comfrey, Region Nine Economic Development Commission and five counties. Minnesota’s departments of Commerce, Administration, Agriculture, Transportation, and the Pollution Control Agency are state-level CSM members. Their leadership regularly participates in the monthly virtual meetings. So do the NRW Ministries for Environment and Transport (MUNV) and Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Action and Energy (MWIKE).

One key factor for CSM’s partner communities to be successful in advancing their own specific climate and sustainability agendas and serve as models for others is access to dedicated technical interns from NRW’s FH Muenster University of Applied Sciences. The CSM internship experience is the brainchild of FH Muenster’s Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christof Wetter. Students with requisite technical expertise do 5-month paid internships in Minnesota cities and organizations. Under Professor Wetter’s supervision, since 2017 nineteen FH Muenster engineering students have helped the host organizations move forward faster on their clean energy and climate journeys. For the NRW students, their deep dive into a professional American environment is nothing short of transformative.

The US government’s signature Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 connects economic development and greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies. This unprecedented investment boost provides huge opportunities also to the CSM network partners. Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz aims to make Minnesota a clean economy leader. The vibrant Germany connection is helping reframe efforts in Minnesota across all sectors and at all levels of government.

Dates of remaining 2023 virtual meetings:

Thursday, October 5, 2023—8:00-9:30 CDT [15:00-16:30 MESZ]

Thursday, November 2, 2023–8:00-9:30 CDT [14:00-15:30 MEZ]

Thursday, December 7, 2023–8:00-9:30 CST [15:00-16:30 MEZ]

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