Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership
On Thursday, a coalition of 17 Minnesota organizations including MEP released a Climate Action Report Card that graded Governor Tim Walz on his administration’s climate action efforts so far. We identified several issue areas and and graded them individually, while providing context on how much each area affects the climate. While we gave credit where credit is due, the overall picture is that Governor Walz needs to pull up his grade and lead Minnesota where we need to go.
We have been encouraged by Governor Walz’s promises to pursue ambitious climate action. His administration has taken some positive steps, especially on clean power and electric vehicles. But on key issues like fossil fuel infrastructure, forestry and land use, and reducing emissions from homes and businesses, the Governor’s record doesn’t live up to his potential to cut emissions as neededand create a sustainable future. Given the shrinking time we have to tackle these issues, we can’t afford any failing grades.
The 17 organizations represent a cross section of the broad range of environmental and social justice issues in Minnesota. The list includes organizations working in the Latinx and Indigenous communities as well as groups specifically focused on water, agriculture, and democracy. The core principles we agree on are simple: that Minnesota needs to think and act both more broadly and bolder on climate action, that our solutions must address environmental and racial justice, and that our state’s Governor must be active and firmly committed to this work. We worked on the issue sections collaboratively and strove to be as fair and objective.
The Minnesota Environmental Partnership is not a partisan organization. We don’t take sides in elections and we have never affiliated with or endorsed political candidates. But we do use tools to educate the public and to influence policymakers to protect Minnesota’s environment and public health.
The goals of the Climate Report Card are to help identify areas in which the Governor should be doing better and to give Minnesotans a tool to persuade him to do so. It identifies sources of emissions, explains what has been done about them, and outlines a path forward. We ask Governor Walz to hit the climate solution accelerator during the remaining half of his term.
Some have asked why the coalition chose only to grade Governor Walz’s record rather than, for example, the Minnesota Senate. Indeed, the Senate continues to block progress, even voting down an amendment this week that would have recognized the human contribution to climate change. This vote illustrates why we deemed grades for the Senate unnecessary: members have openly declared that they do not recognize settled climate science at this time.
With this report card, we chose to focus on making sure Governor Walz’s actions live up to his words. We hope that the Legislature takes action on climate this session, but the ball is not in their court alone.
The Next Step
MEP has engaged with the Walz Administration for the past two years, encouraging agencies as they work on good initiatives like the Clean Cars Rule and opposing bad decisions like permitting the Line 3 pipeline. We will continue to do so as we work towards a clean, equitable future for all Minnesotans. And Minnesota voices will be needed to make sure it happens.
We ask our supporters to contact Governor Walz and ask him to step up his efforts and be the climate champion we need. Minnesota can’t wait.