Minnesota reaffirms commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and combating global climate change

Wind_FarmAdvancing Minnesota’s leadership on environmental protection and clean energy innovation, Gov. Mark Dayton has signed the Under 2 MOU, a global compact among cities, states and regions worldwide to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Climate scientists believe that any warming beyond this 2 degree threshold would cause catastrophic climate disruptions.

“By signing this MOU, Minnesota continues to show leadership on the crucial need to reduce carbon pollution and build a clean energy economy,” said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. “Minnesota has demonstrated that we can have clean, reliable and affordable energy.  Through our efforts we have also improved public health and created 15,000 clean energy jobs with more than $1 billion in annual wages. This is progress we can build on.” Lt. Gov. Smith also signed the Under 2 MOU at a ceremony this morning at an event in Saint Paul with a visiting energy delegation from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany’s most populous state. The delegation was led by NRW’s Minister of Climate Protection, Johannes Remmel, who signed the Under 2 MOU on behalf of his state earlier this week while in California.

“We can make a better Minnesota and a better world by joining this worldwide initiative to address the serious challenges of climate change,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, who hosted the German energy delegation. “Moving forward to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future will be good for both our environment and our economy.”

With Minnesota’s participation, the Under 2 MOU has now been signed or endorsed by 46 jurisdictions representing 19 countries and five continents, collectively representing $14.6 trillion in GDP and nearly 500 million people. If the signatories represented a single country, it would be the second largest economy in the world behind only the United States.
In addition to Minnesota, the other states that have signed the agreement include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

About the Under 2 MOU

Under the agreement, signatories commit to pursuing either a reduction in greenhouse gas pollution to 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 or a per capita annual emission target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050. These targets allow each individual government to tailor emission reduction plans to fit regional needs.

In 2007, Minnesota passed landmark bipartisan legislation called the Next Generation Energy Act. The legislation set goals for energy conservation, renewable energy use and greenhouse gas reductions. This includes reducing greenhouse gas pollution levels to 30 percent and 80 percent below the 2005 level by 2025 and 2050, respectively. Legislation passed in 2013 included key provisions to further promote renewable energy development, especially solar power.

The Under 2 MOU pact seeks to enhance cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas pollution through a range of activities, including:

  • Developing mid-term targets needed to support long-term reduction goals;
  • Sharing technology, scientific research and best practices to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy;
  • Collaborating to expand the use of zero-emission vehicles;
  • Taking steps to ensure consistent monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Improving air quality by reducing short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane; and
  • Assessing the projected impacts of climate change on communities.

More information is available at the Under 2 MOU website.
View the full text of the Under 2 MOU signed by Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Smith.