Gov. Tim Walz creates ‘subcabinet’ to tackle climate change

Governor Tim Walz has created a new “subcabinet” to improve Minnesota’s response to global climate change.

The executive order the Democratic governor signed Monday creates a new panel at the top level of state government focused on lessening the impact Minnesotans have on the environment. The new subcabinet will include state officials from a dozen state agencies, including: pollution control, commerce, agriculture, public safety, natural resources, health and transportation.

“Climate change is our greatest challenge,” said Laura Bishop, commissioner of the state Pollution Control Agency, who will chair the new subcabinet. “We must act to protect the Minnesota we love and the Minnesota we want and expect for future generations.”

Walz noted his administration has already moved to require more fuel-efficient cars, require utilities to use carbon-free sources for energy by 2020 and improve the state’s electric vehicle infrastructure. The new subcabinet will work to implement those and other initiatives.

Steve Kelley, the commerce commissioner, said Minnesota leaders hope to build on the bipartisan support the Legislature’s 2007 Next Generation Energy Act received. So far, the state has failed to meet the goals set in that law to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

But the state has beaten its target of generating 20 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2020.

“In Minnesota, clean energy is already a success story,” Kelley said.

The new subcabinet will also focus on ways to address how climate change can disproportionately impact struggling communities. “We can only combat climate change if we do it together,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said.

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