SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, House DFL leaders and legislators released the 2022 Minnesota Climate Action Plan, which invests $1 billion in addressing the climate crisis. This bold, science-based plan, developed by members of the Minnesota House Climate Action Caucus, will protect the environment and our health, help Minnesotans save money, and create good-paying jobs.
“We must address the climate crisis and ensure Minnesotans have clean air, water, and soil for years to come,” said Rep. Patty Acomb (DFL - Minnetonka), chair of the Minnesota House Climate Action Caucus. “Today, we’re introducing a science-based, multi-sector plan that will help build a healthy climate and sustainable future for the next generation of Minnesotans, while helping current residents save money and creating good-paying jobs. There is more work to be done, but this bold plan is a step towards a better future.”
The 2022 Minnesota Climate Action Plan addresses climate change from several different angles. The $1 billion investment is divided into five sectors: energy, transportation, the built environment, lands, and adaptation and resilience.
“Climate change is one of the greatest threats to Minnesota’s future, and we have a responsibility to be part of the solution,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Now is the time to take bold action to bring down energy costs for families and ensure Minnesotans have the healthy climate and clean energy future they deserve.”
The 2022 Minnesota Climate Action Plan invests $105 million in clean energy initiatives that will help reduce costs and drive innovation. For example, it includes $25 million to install solar energy systems on universities, wastewater treatment facilities, airports, and other public infrastructure. Since solar is expected to be the cheapest form of energy in less than five years and is already cheaper than new fossil fuel plants, this will help reduce costs for these facilities while lowering our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other notable allocations provide $45 million to fund a Greater Minnesota Renewable Development Account and $30 million to establish a Minnesota Innovation Finance Authority.
“As one of the fastest warming states in the country, Minnesota is already seeing climate change impacts our health, our environment, and our way of life,” said Rep. Jamie Long (DFL - Minneapolis), chair of the House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee. “Minnesotans are calling on us to act by moving forward with cleaner, cheaper renewable energy. This plan accelerates that transition by investing in renewable energy and home weatherization to lower energy costs and create good jobs.”
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota. The 2022 Climate Action Plan takes several steps to reduce these emissions, such as expanding and improving public transportation and making walking and biking more accessible. It also invests $20 million in electric buses, $20 million in electric school buses, $15 million in rebates for Minnesotans who choose to buy electric vehicles, and $20 million in charging infrastructure. Since electric vehicles emit fewer greenhouse gasses and pollutants, all of us will benefit from having more of them on the road. Minnesotans who purchase an electric vehicle will also save money on gas and maintenance. Investing in transportation will help keep our air clean and ensure Minnesotans can travel safely and conveniently within their communities and across the state.
“Minnesota has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead the transition to clean energy,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis), chair of the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee. “We can meet this moment to build a transportation system that keeps Minnesotans connected, no matter where they live or how they travel. These critical investments will help us move forward into the 21st century and deliver sustainable solutions to help us reduce the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions.”
House DFLers are committed to helping Minnesotans save money on their energy bills. The 2022 Climate Action Plan will create opportunities for people to make their homes more energy efficient. It includes funding to support the state’s Pre-Weatherization and Weatherization Assistance Program, develop the weatherization workforce, and provide rebates to Minnesotans who purchase electric appliances. Additional funding will help schools become more energy efficient, preserve state parks and trails, and establish recycling programs. These investments will help lower energy costs and create good-paying jobs across the state.
“In the last 20 years, Minnesota has seen stronger and more severe impacts from climate change. As we invest in infrastructure throughout the state, it’s imperative we do so in a way that ensures communities are well equipped for these challenges, and are providing for a cleaner, greener Minnesota,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL - Minneapolis), chair of the House Capital Investment Committee. “Making our communities stronger will help all Minnesotans adapt and protect those who are most vulnerable to severe weather, health issues, and other impacts of climate change.”
Since trees and plants store carbon, Minnesota’s forests, prairies, and farmland can help our state fight climate change. This plan will help preserve and enhance our natural resources with $30 million to plant five million trees per year and $40 million for a variety of programs that conserve native grasses. Additional funding will be used to develop crops and agricultural practices that conserve soil and water while creating new economic opportunities for farmers year round.
“Preserving and enhancing Minnesota’s natural resources is an important part of our fight against climate change,” said Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL - South St. Paul), chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “A simple first step is planting a tree for every Minnesotan every year for the next four years. Funding this and other practical conservation and carbon practices can help our fields, forests, and friends weather the climate storm."
House DFLers are dedicated to helping communities prepare for climate change. The 2022 Climate Action Plan includes $25 million to create an infrastructure adaptation and resilience fund that will assist local governments. It provides $5 million worth of grants to help local governments develop and implement climate action plans as well. Other notable appropriations include $1 million to support research on the impacts of climate change and $2 million to create jobs dedicated to climate adaptation and resilience within state agencies. Together, these investments will help Minnesotans adapt in the face of climate change and protect those who are most vulnerable to severe weather, health issues, and other impacts.
Details of the 2022 Minnesota Climate Action Plan are available here.