A reason for hope: Minnesotans’ role in confronting climate change

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By Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership

This week’s United Nations report on climate change – estimating that the global community has roughly twelve years to cut emissions in half in order to avoid catastrophic warming – was jarring. The twelve-year deadline may seem a short window for the low-carbon revolution. But consider what has changed in the past twelve years, since 2006:

  • 3 billion more people have become connected to the Internet.
  • Over 4 billion more people have access to a cellular phone.
  • Polio was declared eradicated from all but two countries.
  • Global wind and solar energy capacity reached the milestone of a trillion watts installed.
  • The average cost of solar energy per megawatt-hour in the United States plummeted from more than $400 to only $50.

Closer to home, 2007 was the year Minnesota passed the bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act, which spurred enormous clean energy development in our state. In the past twelve years, we’ve tripled the portion of our electricity generated by renewables – these sources now produce more than one-fifth of our electricity and counting. We’ve also made notable strides in energy efficiency, a field that has outpaced Minnesota’s economy overall in job creation three times over. The upshot is that we’re capable – in Minnesota and around the world – of creating the future we need to handle climate change.

A transition for Minnesotans, by Minnesotans

The healthy changes of the last twelve years could not have happened without the support of Minnesotans who showed up and spoke up. The actions we need for the next twelve will require just as much courage and dedication. We ask all Minnesotans to continue this important work. Contact your lawmakers and make sure to ask candidates for their plans for climate action before the election next month. Find an avenue to make your voice heard on climate change in whatever way suits you.

A brighter future for Minnesota, and the world, is entirely possible. Let’s start building it together.

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