Climate Change & Energy
The most basic moral covenant of any people is that we leave our country, and our world, better for future generations than we found it. By not taking aggressive action to stop, and then reverse, global climate change we are failing at this basic test of an ethical society. Like so many other issues, the people who will be most drastically harmed by climate change are not those who have caused it the most. This lack of environmental justice is being felt both globally and locally. Jean believes Minnesota Legislators and the Governor have a duty to take aggressive action and progressives must be clear in that position.
When DFLers at the Legislature are in the minority, as is the case now, the DFL Minority Leader chooses an experienced member in each committee to be the Caucus spokesperson. Jean leads the Caucus on energy issues. The differences between DFLers and Republicans on energy issues could not be more stark. The underlying issue, of course, is climate change. The Republican Caucus, funded by the fossil fuel industry, denies the reality of climate change.
In 2007, with the leadership of a small team of legislators including Jean, the Legislature passed a law adopting the nation-leading standard for renewable energy. With Jeanís support, the DFL-controlled Legislature added a new solar standard in 2013. In the last three years of Republican control, they have worked hard to roll back progress combating climate change, including sabotaging solar.
Jean blogs about Republican strategies and DFL responses as they are happening at blog.jeanwagenius.org.
- Coming Up in 2018 & 2019: Jean expects the Republicans to try for further rollbacks of our progress in the 2018 session. One of the ways to fight back is to show that there are better alternatives by introducing legislation that moves Minnesota forward. Last session when the Republicans were working to roll back solar, especially for rural Minnesota, Jean introduced a bill that would have given rural Minnesotans, including farmers, incentives for solar installations. The chair of the tax committee refused to hear the bill and instead gave tax breaks to the tobacco industry. Republicans say that they are better representatives for rural Minnesota, but Minnesotans in the metro now have opportunities for rooftop solar that rural Minnesotans donít have and Republicans donít want to provide.
- Energy storage will make wind- and solar-produced energy more resilient. Minnesota currently does not have targets for storage capacity. Jean is working with experts to have a ďstorage targetĒ bill ready for introduction when the 2018 session starts. She will have other bills that support energy storage, electric vehicles and more. Due to obstruction led by Republicans and fossil fuel interests, Minnesota is not on track to meet its greenhouse gas emissions goals so Jean is planning for bills to get Minnesota back on track. She strongly supports the effort to raise the renewable energy standard to 50% by 2030. If, as expected, Republicans prevent progress on solar, energy storage, electric vehicles and other efforts to combat climate change in 2018, Jean will push DFLers to make that a high priority in 2019 after the November election.
- Read more about Jeanís environmental work at Clean Air & Water