Minnesota Needs A Climate Champion

Governor Walz isn't making the grade for climate

Minnesotans care about protecting each other and our climate. We are issuing midterm climate grades with a call to the Governor: Minnesotans are depending on you to pull up your grades! We deserve “straight A” leadership.



Emissions from transportation cannot be eliminated through switching to electric vehicles alone. We must also provide reliable, fast and affordable alternatives that provide people the freedom to drive less. We must build housing near transit. Gov. Walz has proposed no ongoing dollars to support transit expansion, bicycling or walking.
Gov. Walz has supported policies that would increase availability of electric vehicles (EVs). But he has not proposed crucial investments, like EV rebates or charging infrastructure even close to the scale needed. Instead, he is diverting precious resources to out-of-date and polluting fuels like ethanol.
Pushing utilities to change is crucial, but not enough. The State must lead by example and invest money equitably to speed the transition by powering public buildings and public vehicles with electricity from solar and wind. Gov. Walz has not proposed these investments at the scale needed. DETAILS➞
Gov. Walz supports the 100% Clean Energy Bill, which leads us toward climate justice and 100% “carbon free” electricity by 2040 with interim targets of 80% carbon-free by 2030 and 90% by 2035. Gov. Walz’s support is important, and he needs to make this a priority for consistent advocacy.
Minnesota must transition to sustainable and just farming by implementing soil-healthy practices and transforming our cropping and livestock systems. Gov. Walz has not taken sufficient positive action and in some ways has contributed to the existing inequitable, failing system that is greatly contributing to the climate crisis.
Minnesota must reduce emissions from buildings through electrification, weatherization, and conservation. Gov. Walz has not proposed policy and financial incentives at the scale needed. If done equitably, these policies should reduce the energy burden of renters and BIPOC, and low-income communities.
By capturing carbon naturally, our forests and natural spaces are a big net positive for the climate. By greatly expanding plantings, including in cities, we could capture much more carbon than we are. Instead, Minnesota is losing forests, native prairies and other carbon sinks.
Gov. Walz continues to make decisions that invest in, and extend the life of, fossil fuels. The starkest example is his decision to permit a new and expanded Line 3 pipeline, the equivalent of building 50 new coal-fired plants. Line 3 violates treaty rights and is an environmental injustice.
The climate crisis is about so much more than electricity from coal plants. A multi-sector problem requires a multi-sector solution. Current Minnesota law, which set emission goals in 2007, is now significantly out of date. Gov. Walz should support the Next Generation Climate Act.

We want to believe Gov. Walz when he says that he shares our values of caring for the earth and shares our commitment to creating a sustainable and renewable future for the people of Minnesota. But Gov. Walz is falling short of his abilities. The urgency and possibility of this moment call for bold action and transformative solutions, especially as the impacts of the climate crisis are amplified by existing structural racism, and often hit hardest in communities of color. We need Gov. Walz to do more for the climate, and we look forward to partnering with him to build a vibrant and healthy state where Minnesotans of all classes, races, histories, and identities grow and thrive together, today and in the future.

What are we grading on?

> Minnesota, not the world. Minnesota cannot solve a global problem alone. But our state must at least do its fair share by addressing the climate pollution we are producing right here in Minnesota. Our Governor must lead this effort. 

> The Governor’s actions, not others’ reactions. Many needed changes will require cooperation from the Legislature, but these grades are based on the Governor’s actions — what he has proposed or what his agencies have done. They are not based on reactions, actions or inaction taken by the state Senate.

Building back equitably

Minnesotans, no matter where they are from or the color of their skin, want a safe and prosperous future unthreatened by the climate crisis and the economic devastation it will cause.  But those who profit from unchecked pollution seek to stop needed actions on the climate, including by spreading myths to divide us.  These myths include that we must choose between prosperity and equity or between prosperity and climate action.  Both of these are false choices.  We will all be worse off if we believe these polluter-created myths.

Action to address the climate and to reduce inequality should go together.  Both together will help the economy.  We have an opportunity to “build back better” and build back equitably.  These smart choices will benefit all Minnesotans and put us on the path to climate justice.  For each grade, we have provided details on why we gave the grade and included a section called “More Benefits for All Minnesotans.”  These describe ways in which current policies are unjust toward low-income people and Black, Indigenous and people of color, but we can build back equitably in ways that benefit us all Minnesotans.

Sources of climate pollution

Climate pollution comes from many sources — not just from coal plants.  Minnesota’s climate pollution from transportation, energy and agriculture as well as our homes, buildings and heavy industry.  In order to solve this multi-sector problem, we need multi-sector solutions.  The subjects we grade Gov. Walz generally correspond to the sources of CO2 emissions in Minnesota. 

VIDEO: Minnesotans call on Gov. Walz. to do more to protect our climate for future generations