Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has issued an executive order that will create a new climate change focused subcabinet and advisory council to work on a coordinated statewide climate change response and resiliency measures.
In the order, the governor recognizes the need for a comprehensive response to the threat of climate change that includes protections for low-income and indigenous Minnesotans. He also notes that preparing for climate change has already had a positive impact on the local economy. “Currently,
job growth in the clean energy sector is outpacing job growth in the overall economy. Continued
leadership on climate change will position Minnesota for long-term economic success,” the order says.
Despite positive trends like increases in clean energy sector jobs, Governor Walz says that Minnesota has already fallen short of its renewable energy goals and without a strategic response it will continue to do so. Minnesota’s 2007 Next Generation Energy Act set statutory goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 30% of 2005 levels by 2025 and 80% by 2050. Without action, Minnesota will miss its 2025 goal. It will be the work of the newly created climate change subcabinet to identify policies and strategies that will put the state back on track.
The subcabinet will submit a written report to the Governor on December 1 of each year following this order. The report will include progress updates and policy recommendations. The subcabinet is also tasked with creating a public engagement strategy so that all constituent groups are represented in any policy recommendations. The newly created Climate Change Advisory Council will help with public engagement and will include community stakeholders among its membership.
The advisory council will be working to help the public with resources on how to transition out of jobs that are impacted by climate change and will also help identify ways that communities can create more sustainable economies.