Gov. Tim Walz’s new Advisory Council on Climate Change will hold its first meeting this week as the state redoubles efforts to hit its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The meeting, from 1 p.m.to 4 p.m. Monday, will be livestreamed on YouTube.
Walz appointed the 15 members of the citizen council in September to advise his new Climate Change Subcabinet, a body headed by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Commissioner Laura Bishop. The council’s 15 members include farmers, academics, utility executives, tribal officials and others. They’re tasked with finding innovative ways for the state to meet its emissions reduction targets and to adapt to changes.
Monday’s kickoff meeting comes nearly a year after Walz first announced the formation of the climate subcabinet in an effort to get Minnesota back on track to meet its carbon reduction targets.
The state missed the target set in the state’s 2007 Next Generation Energy Act to cut greenhouse gas emissions 15% from 2005 levels by 2015. The state is also behind on meeting its next target of cutting emissions by 30% by 2025.
The act’s ultimate objective is to reduce emissions in Minnesota by 80% by 2050.
Emissions from power plants and energy production in Minnesota have fallen dramatically, but emissions from agriculture and transportation — particularly passenger vehicles — have not. Minnesota is behind on electric vehicle adoption, with dealerships lacking much inventory. That’s something the governor’s administration is trying to change.
The MPCA has started rule-making on a Clean Cars measure to require automakers to deliver more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles for sale in Minnesota. That means vehicles with ultralow emissions or zero tailpipe emissions, a group that includes battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. Nearly a dozen other states have adopted such standards.
The MPCA plans to publish its formal notice of intent to adopt the new rule this winter in the state register, opening a new period of public comments and hearings. The final rule is expected to be adopted in 2021.