The Centennial Student Union was the location of the Minnesota Environmental Congress where Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and his cabinet came to discuss the current issue of global climate change and the impact it has had in the state Tuesday.
Hundreds of other leaders in environment policy and groups came to either attend or speak at the event which covered a wide arrange of issues including rising temperatures, water erosion and clean energy.
“We’re taking a holistic approach across the enterprise of government and that started early on when we proposed the 2050 Plan to have Minnesota be zero carbon emissions by 2050 on power generation,” Gov. Walz said on Minnesota’s future plans for the environment.
Gov. Walz spoke about how the growing consensus in the science community that global warming is not only real, but its effects are already being seen both in Minnesota and around the country.
“The state of Minnesota was leading into some standards on carbon reduction and renewables in our energy grids, setting some ambitious goals that the rest of the country maybe outside of California hadn’t done yet,” Gov. Walz said.
The governor continued, “I think back to that time of the unity around it and it was a few short months after that when a very odd commercial started showing up on our TVs which was a couch sitting in the middle of nowhere with Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich sitting on there and said “We can address climate change, we must address climate change”. That was the spring of 2008.”
Gov. Walz stressed throughout his speech the urgency climate change policy has in today’s issues.
“To the progress that’s been made and the frustration that has led us here to a winter 2019 when some of the predictions that many of you in the room feared are not just predictions anymore, they’re daily events,” Gov. Walz said.
Other speakers at the event included the executive director of Minnesota’s Envornmental Quality Board Will Seuffert, the lead scientist for the Global Water Initiative Dr. Kate Brauman, and current Presidet of Minnesota State University, Mankato Richard Davenport who introduced Gov. Walz on stage.
Grace Goldtooth, the vice president of the Lower Sioux Indian Community was set to be one of the plenary speakers at the event, but became ill and was unable to attend.
Dr. Brauman in her speech displayed data that showed Minnesota’s weather and temeperature throughout the century. The data showed that as Minnesota got closer to the end of the 20th Century, there were significantly less cold and snow days and more wet and rainy days.
“We just don’t see these really, really cold days anymore,” Dr. Brauman said. “Our cold season is not as cold and not as long.”
The enviornmental congress included two breakout sessions back to back which allowed audience members to go listen in and learn about specific topics that relate to both the environment and climate change.
Some of the sessions included “Pathways to Decarbonizing Transportation”, “Climate Justice, Energy, and Equity” and “Adapting to Climate Change: Innovative Strategies from around Minnesota”.
As this was going on, Gov. Walz spoke inside the Multicultural Center with Student Government and minority students discussing many of the challenges minority students face during the semester including the high cost of tuition.
Header photo: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaks at the Minnesota Environmental Congress held at the Centennial Student Union Ballroom Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 in Mankato, Minn. The event was held to discuss the issue of climate change and its impact on the state of Minnesota. (Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter)