Minnesota is preparing to step up efforts to reduce life-threatening greenhouse gases.
under The new official climate plan was released on Fridaychanges across the state will affect everything from how forests are grown and used in Minnesota to how families move across the world as the state stumbles toward a low-carbon future.
Governor Tim Walz released the 69-page Climate Action Framework Friday morning at the Ecolab research facility in Eagan, a site chosen to highlight business support for climate action.
Current Minnesota laws call for a reduction of greenhouse gases by at least 30% from 2005 levels by 2025, and 80% by 2050. The new framework formally adopts stricter targets for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to cut 50% by 2030, leading to to net zero by 2050. That’s what is needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, says the UN panel.
Already, global temperatures have risen 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels.
It’s not clear whether adopting tougher state goals requires legislative approval, which may be difficult given the deadlock that has plagued the Minnesota legislature in recent years with the Minnesota-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate. How strongly the plan’s recommendations are followed up may depend on who sits in the governor’s seat.
Tackling climate change has been a priority for Walz, the DFLer player running for reelection. The state has struggled for years to push ahead with the greenhouse gas-reduction targets set by lawmakers in state law in 2007 — goals the state has lost due to wide mark.
Walz’s Republican opponent, Dr. Scott Jensen, has not taken a public stance on climate change. The Energy position statement Released over the summer did not mention the climate crisis, although it supports the growth of wind and solar power generation.
Jensen wants to scrap Minnesota’s new clean car standards, rules meant to speed up the adoption of electric vehicle (EV) to reduce greenhouse gases by requiring automakers to make more new electric cars available for sale in Minnesota. Transportation is the state’s number one source of greenhouse gases, with more than half coming from passenger cars and vans, according to the climate plan.
St. Paul-based Ecolab, which provides hygiene products and services to healthcare, industrial, food and hospitality companies, has pledged to halve greenhouse gas emissions and get all of its electric power from renewable sources by 2030. It was among nine companies that immediately expressed expressed her support for the framework, and released a letter on Friday saying that she is suffering from “the devastating effects of climate change in Minnesota.”
“The climate crisis requires urgent action and systemic change,” the letter said.
It is signed by Ecolab, General Mills, Aveda, engineering firm LHB, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Eileen Fisher, Ikea USA, and Trane Technologies.
The climate plan draws strength from unprecedented new federal spending and incentives to tackle climate change from both Inflation reduction law A bipartisan infrastructure law. Minnesota is expected to see an estimated $6.8 billion in bipartisan infrastructure law, which includes federal funds for roads, bridges, public transportation, and water, as well as $68 million over five years to build high-speed public charging stations for electric vehicles.
Minnesota is the latest state to release a new climate plan, many of which are updates to older ones. More than 30 states have their own plans or have one in the works, according to the nonprofit Center for Climate and Energy Solutions in Arlington, Virginia. tracking pageAnd many countries still have not adopted specific targets for reducing greenhouse gases.
Minnesota produced climate plans in 2008 and 2015, for example, but they were unsuccessful. The urgency over the climate crisis has intensified, and the new plan is even more ambitious.
Achieving the goals will be a challenge. Minnesota is expected to rely on coal and natural gas for 22 percent of its energy, for example, just six years before the new plan calls for the state to transition to zero-carbon electricity.
Wales exacerbated the climate crisis by creating the state’s first climate change sub-cabinet after taking office in 2019. About 150 people worked on the plan in working groups that included city and state agency officials, utilities, labor unions, farmers, tribal states, businesses and environmental groups. More than 3,000 Minnesota residents have provided input through online comments and surveys, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Except for more stringent reduction targets, the final version is similar to the draft released earlier this year. It highlights ensuring that solutions are just and help the communities most affected by pollution. It also stresses the need for cooperation with the 11 sovereign tribal states in Minnesota, some of which have climate plans Their own.
The recommended climate actions are extensive, some of which require legislation.
This is a sample:
Transportation: Increase the number of electric vehicles on state roads from less than 1% now to 20% by 2030. Set a “clean fuel” standard to promote low-carbon biofuels at the pump. Reduce your total vehicle miles by spending more on public transportation options and non-motorized transportation such as bicycles.
lands: Accelerate the restoration of forests, grasslands and wetlands. Accelerate voluntary agricultural management best practices such as growing cover crops and perennials in fields, and increasing water storage.
Resilient Societies: Increase urban canopy cover of trees to 30% by 2030. Develop infrastructure such as storm sewers to deal with increased rainfall.
Energy and buildings: Set the standard for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, with just over half coming from renewables. Require all new commercial buildings and large multi-family buildings to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2036.
health: Cut the peak rate of heat-related emergency room visits by more than half by 2030. Achieve the federal government’s Justice 40 Initiative goal of 40% of federal and state climate investment that benefits disadvantaged communities by 2025. Diversify the leadership of state agencies.
clean economy Develop job training programs to prepare Minnesota residents for green economy jobs, such as manufacturing solar panels and equipping buildings to save energy. Identify the supply chain needs of companies trying to go green.
Elaine Anderson, director of the climate program at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Action who served on one of the Climate Plan’s working groups, called the document a “key moment” in the climate movement. In an interview, she said, implementing it would require cooperation in the legislature and across the state.
“It’s a big, heavy load,” Anderson said. “Achieving these goals could put Minnesota on the map of a clean energy economy, which means thousands of jobs and a healthier place to live.”