SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26), Rep. Kaohly Vang Her (DFL – St. Paul) joined more than 535 state legislators in sending a letter to President Joe Biden that calls for stronger federal climate commitments to achieve full decarbonization and limit warming to 1.5°C or lower. The bipartisan letter, organized by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, was signed by legislators from 47 states and territories.
“I signed on to the letter urging President Biden for stronger federal climate commitment because states cannot do this alone,” said Rep. Her. “The world we are leaving behind for our children is in jeopardy. We must take bold action, and we must do so quickly if we want to change the trajectory of our current climate crisis.”
States across the country are passing bills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. states and territories have some form of Renewable Portfolio Standard or Clean Energy Standard, and more than a dozen have committed to 100 percent clean energy. States were the first to implement carbon pricing and to set 100 percent clean energy goals and economy-wide net-zero emissions targets.
However, state action is not enough. States, localities, and the world depend on the U.S. government to set bold climate policies in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change. In fact, Americans are already being forced to adapt to and pay for the repercussions of a changing climate. This year alone we have seen catastrophic damage from hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, droughts, and cold snaps. All these events are taking an increasing toll on local environments, communities, and economies.
“Residents of Minnesota know firsthand the impact of our changing climate,” said Rep. Her. “This year, we had a historic drought that led to lower crop yields and fires that destroyed hundreds of acres of forest. Our way of life is changing as a result, but we know we can turn this into an opportunity. Minnesota is home to one of the largest solar panel manufacturing companies in the country. Decarbonizing will only lead to more jobs and better outcomes for Minnesotans.”
The benefits of decarbonization extend far beyond mitigating climate change. Through decarbonization, municipalities, states, and tribal nations can create jobs, reduce energy prices, and curb toxic pollution. That is why it is the hope of all 537 legislators who signed this letter that the federal government can follow the example set by states and commit to full decarbonization by 2050.
The full text of the letter is available here.