Minnesota on the path to a comprehensive plan for curbing greenhouse gas emissions,
the 2008 legislature encountered delays in implementing real climate change
solutions. First, Governor Pawlenty’s Office of Energy Security stalled release
of the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group’s recommendations for realizing
the goals set in 2007. Next, the Green Solutions Act, which
originally contained key elements of a just and effective regional
cap-and-trade system, was stripped to barebones-funding for studies on economic,
environmental and public health costs and benefits on a regional cap-and-trade
program and a legislative advisory group to monitor the program’s negotiations
among Midwest Governors.
Despite the delay, legislators attempted to pass the Minnesota
Clean Car Act which proposed joining 13 other states in requiring
cars and light-duty trucks sold in Minnesota in 2011 to meet more stringent
climate change and air pollution standards. According to the Minnesota Climate
Change Advisory Group, this Act would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more
than 13 million metric tons by 2025 with an estimated net savings of over $260
million-much of which is savings to consumers due to less fuel consumption!
Unfortunately, the bill faced major opposition from the auto industry. The Act
died in a Senate committee with a warning from legislators in opposition to the
auto industry that more fuel-efficient and cleaner vehicles are the future in
The 2008 legislature attempted to overcome these delays by
putting its best foot forward on some other pressing issues. They took an
important step in addressing climate change by overriding the Governor’s veto
of the transportation
funding package which includes approximately $117 million annually
for transit throughout the State.
Furthermore, by 2030, new buildings financed by state bonds will
be carbon neutral as a result of standards passed this year.Â The sustainable building guidelines
require that all new state buildings and major renovations to state buildings exceed
state energy code by at least 30%.Â The
law also establishes a process to move all buildings in Minnesota toward
greater energy efficiency.
The 2007 and 2008 legislatures charted a historic, but slightly
bumpy course regarding Minnesota’s commitment to a clean energy future and
addressing climate change pollution.
Citizens like you can help Minnesota lead the nation by asking
their elected officials to support climate change legislation.â€¯
Clean Energy Minnesota,
Midwest Governorsâ€™ Greenhouse Gas Accord,
Unbowed: A Memoir, by Wangari Maathai, Anchor, 2007.
Seven Wonders for a Cool
Planet: Everyday Things to Help Solve Global Warming, by Eric
Sorensen, Sierra Club/Counterpoint, 2008.
Sierra Club North Star Chapter
Minnesota Public Interest ResearchÂ Group
Statewide; college campuses