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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL)

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RELEASE: House DFL legislators announce the formation of the Climate Action Caucus

Thursday, September 19, 2019

SAINT PAUL, MN — Today, legislators announced the formation of the Climate Action Caucus. House DFLers have created the new caucus to show support for young Minnesotans who are participating in the Youth Climate Strike, a worldwide demonstration scheduled to take place Friday, September 20.

“Climate change is one of the top issues that my colleagues and I hear about from community members, particularly young people,” said Rep. Patty Acomb (DFL – Minnetonka), Chair of the Climate Action Caucus. “As Chair of the newly-formed Climate Action Caucus, I’m looking forward to working with Minnesotans on a bold, comprehensive plan to combat climate change. Together, we can secure a future in which we all thrive.”

Climate Action Caucus members will create an ambitious agenda based on input from Minnesotans. The Minnesota Climate Action Plan will draw on the unique advantages of our state – generous, hard-working people; innovative businesses; world-class colleges and universities; and vast natural resources – to find solutions and establish Minnesota as a national leader in the fight against climate change. 

“Minnesotans have come from all over the state to ask us to take the climate crisis as seriously as they do,” said Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL – Minneapolis), Chair of the House Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Committee. “Young people have told us that they’re scared, even terrified. They know they will experience the impacts from climate change for their whole lives. We must build a successful clean energy economy so young Minnesotans will have the future they want and we want for them.”

The Climate Action Caucus will bring together legislators with different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Growing the clean energy sector will be a key piece of the Minnesota Climate Action Plan, but the plan will touch on every sector of Minnesota’s economy, including transportation, agriculture, and forestry.

“Minnesota youth have been vocal, they’re demanding change, and we as policymakers stand in solidarity with them as they prepare to strike tomorrow,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL – Minneapolis), Chair of the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee. “Recent data indicates that climate change is accelerating, and addressing it with our transportation policies will be a key component of the Climate Action Caucus’s plan to address climate change in Minnesota.” 

“We are already seeing the impacts of climate change, and constituents are asking us to do all we can to prevent further consequences. Tomorrow, young people around our country will add urgency to that ask,” said Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL – South St. Paul), Chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee. “The Minnesota Climate Action Plan will employ innovative practices and policies to reduce and capture greenhouse gasses, including carbon sequestration. Studies show storage through planting trees, plants, prairies, and forests and other natural climate solutions can significantly capture carbon emissions.”

Students who helped organize the Youth Climate Strike in Minnesota joined lawmakers for the announcement.

“Preventing the climate crisis must be at the forefront of all political decisions and declarations,” said Mia DiLorenzo, one of the leaders of the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike. “We must unite behind both the science and the activism to truly come up with a solution that positively affects Minnesota communities.”

“The climate crisis is not tomorrow, it isn’t in 11 years, it is happening right now,” said Juwaria Jama, a Minnesota Youth Climate Strike leader. “We must address all aspects of climate change and center this crisis on the voices of those disproportionately affected. If climate solutions don’t include voices of youth, low-income folks, and people of color, they aren’t a solution at all.”