Celebration of a Clean Energy Future

On September 1, a great group of Minnesotans gathered at the Colin Powell Center in Minneapolis to celebrate the Clean Power Plan and to build momentum for the work ahead to build a clean energy economy for our state and country.  The Clean Power Plan is probably the most significant step ever taken by any country to reduce greenhouse gases that drive climate change.

I had the privilege of joining Congressman Keith Ellison, Senator Al Franken and many other strong leaders to talk about next steps.  I reminded the crowd what we're up against in Minnesota - a House Republican majority who (with a single exception) voted to deny that climate change is real and that human activity plays a role in accelerating climate change!

A few excerpts from my speech are below:

"Climate change is a defining issue of our time – economically, socially and morally. The fact is we see the impact of climate change and its costs right here in Minnesota. The decline in the walleye population in Lake Mille Lacs – an iconic part of our state’s heritage – is just the most recent example.

The good news is that Minnesota has a long history of state leadership on taking on climate change. As a result we’re well positioned to benefit from the Clean Power Plan . . .But we have our work cut out for us to keep the momentum going to put together the right plan for Minnesota’s future. That means a plan that not only meets – and exceeds -- our emissions goals and positions Minnesota as a leader in the green energy economy, but a plan that also recognizes regional differences in how we achieve these goals and that takes care of our fellow citizens who may be adversely impacted by disruptions to the old energy economy.

I know we can do this! We’ve proven in the past we have the ideas and the power working together to make it happen – if we’re organized and committed; if we show up at the Capitol in St. Paul; if we are ambitious in our efforts; if we change our campaign finance laws so that common sense voices for clean energy are not drowned out in a flood of dark money intended to protect the status quo; and if we make this an election issue that politicians can no longer ignore!

There is no doubt in my mind that if Minnesotans really show up and vote in the next election – if we stop pretending like elections don’t have consequences - a bright clean energy future will be ours."