Energy & Climate

MEP Climate and Energy Cluster Contact: Sara Wolff, sara@mepartnership.org

This past September in a St. Paul library, youth were leading the community in visioning what our world will look like when we tackle the energy transition together.

They shared a meaningful question: In every problem and project, is there a link to a climate change solution?

What we often don’t see is the way that once we embrace the problem of climate change and work full throttle to address it, how beautiful and rich our lives and communities will be.

And when we do what we need to do for climate, all of the other issues we identify in this book will get better, too – our water will be cleaner, our air more breathable, our pollinators healthier, and our people thriving.

 The Goal: Minnesota will do our part for climate action by reducing, then eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in our state.

We know it’s a big challenge that will require enormous changes. But Minnesotans don’t run away from a challenge.

How to Get There:

We need a GHG emissions reduction plan. And we have one.

  • Use existing authority to put Minnesota on a path to eliminating GHG emissions. Under current law, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) can create rules to reduce GHG pollution. A firm and decreasing cap essentially places a market price on carbon. This price creates an incentive to reduce GHG emissions, and shifts investments away from fossil fuels and toward clean technologies.
  • Increase the Renewable Energy Standard to 100% clean energy. A revised Renewable Energy Standard needs to include benchmark requirements for achieving
    • At least 80% renewable energy by 2035 and
    • 100% carbon free energy by 2050 or sooner.

Is it possible? Xcel Energy, one of the biggest utilities in the U.S., committed to going 80% carbon free by 2030, and 100% carbon-free by 2050 (announced December 2018).

  • Facilitate the transition of transportation to clean energy. Adopting the Advance Clean Cars Standards, including implementing a Zero Emission Vehicle Standard, will require manufacturers selling vehicles within the state to produce and sell a certain number of electric vehicles, as determined by their market share.

    We can also make an electric electric vehicle infrastructure investment of $40 million over the next 4-8 years to construct nearly 3,000 chargers across the state, particularly in Greater Minnesota. This level of investment will facilitate an electric vehicle uptake of 8-10% by 2025.

These measures alone are just part of the puzzle. But they are critical pieces – and they’ll help give us the momentum we need to meet our climate goals.


RESOURCES

2019 Minnesota Environmental Partnership Environmental Briefing Book

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribe to our Environmental Insider email to keep up with the latest.