Presidential candidates’ climate views have little in common
Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership
On Tuesday evening, the Minnesota House Climate Action Caucus released its Climate Action Plan, which will help guide legislation introduced in 2021 and beyond. In a Facebook video, State Representatives in the Caucus and members of Minnesota’s environmental community explained the plan and asked for questions and feedback from Minnesotans.
It’s a great plan – more ambitious than any that we’ve seen in Minnesota. While there are priorities our MEP coalition might add on issues like fossil fuel infrastructure, the policies and investments it proposes are necessary and highly beneficial for our state, and we hope to see many Minnesotans speaking up in support during the next Legislative session.
The plan’s first goal is to reduce Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by the year 2030. It covers the three primary source sectors of Minnesota’s emissions: transportation, electricity, and land use, as well as other areas. On transportation, it proposes to build up transit while electrifying the personal vehicle trips that remain, and employing smart land use to make amenities more accessible to non-drivers. It sets a target of 100% clean electricity on an accelerated timeline, while prioritizing local clean energy jobs. And it supports cover crops, soil health, local food systems, and habitat restoration to utilize Minnesota’s land as a natural carbon sink.
Importantly, the plan’s strategies focus on securing a just transition – good jobs, lower energy costs, and benefits for communities who are disadvantaged by structural inequity and the pollution-heavy sectors of our economy. This includes supporting workers whose jobs currently rely on fossil fuels, planning for adaptation to extreme weather patterns, and investing in efficiency upgrades for low-income households.
Climate change is the largest crisis that has ever threatened Minnesota and the world, but our response to it presents us with a unique opportunity: we can change our economy so that the way we power our lives no longer has such harmful and inequitable side effects. We can ensure that Minnesotans in low-income zip codes no longer suffer higher rates of asthma due to pollution. We can create an economically vital agricultural landscape that allows bees and fish to thrive. We can secure community ownership of electricity generation to keep power costs from breaking the bank.
Minnesota can lead on climate action, but we’re counting on the federal government to tackle the global crisis. Two visions of the future were on display last week at the final Presidential Debate of this election. The section on climate change (finally, there was a section on climate change!) was particularly interesting, and can be found in the transcript at about 14:21.
We ask that all our subscribers cast a ballot. You can do it in person by 8:00 PM on Tuesday, November 3rd . Remember not to mail in a ballot if you have one, but to turn it in to a designated location. And think about our planet’s future when you do.