I’ll start with the good news: Both the Minnesota House and Senate passed our Clean Energy and Jobs legislation last week. The legislation includes a first-ever solar standard and a strengthened renewable energy standard for investor-owned utilities, as well as important efficiency and local power production policies.
In Congress, signs of progress on a few small-scale energy bills are evident, but action at the state level is more robust. Thanks to 29 states with renewable energy standards and more than 20 states with clean energy trust funds, we have doubled the renewable energy capacity in the U.S.
One of our youth climate leaders, Cole Norgaarden, recently addressed a crowd of over 30 advocates working on advancing Minnesota’s clean energy leadership. I was struck by his confidence and articulate comments, especially since they epitomize why our work is so urgent and important. He told the crowd “apologies cannot cut carbon…so let’s prevent the need to say it in the first place.
In his inaugural address, President Obama pledged to respond to climate change “knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Then, in his State of the Union address, he outlined several clean energy initiatives his administration will pursue to help fulfill that commitment, including a goal of cutting energy waste from homes and businesses in half by 2030.
In Minnesota, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota legislature are poised to continue Minnesota’s clean energy path. Governor Dayton’s State of the State not only recognized Will Steger, but also issued a bold statement of support for a clean energy future and a challenge to the Legislature to take the next big step forward towards a sustainable energy future.
This legislative session we will be working with a broad coalition and Governor Dayton’s administration to support Minnesota’s existing clean energy and carbon reduction policies. We will work to create new policies that allow our state to achieve even more benefits from efficiency and renewable energy, while also ensuring we achieve the state carbon reduction goal of 30% by 2025. We will also galvanize our youth leaders through our Emerging Leaders Program to build a grassroots youth movement that expands what is politically possible.
We look forward to sustaining this momentum for climate solutions through our policy work, youth leadership, public outreach and upcoming educator workshops! Stay tuned for updates on these efforts on our blog and monthly updates.
Nicole Rom, Executive Director
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