Hundreds gather to talk climate change at Mankato Environmental Congress

Hundreds gather to talk climate change at Mankato Environmental Congress

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Gov. Tim Walz was one of the many speakers present discussing climate change in Minnesota.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the increase of greenhouse gas emissions in the state will lead to increasing temperatures that bring extremes in precipitation, such as rising rivers and flash flooding.

The hot topic today was how Minnesota’s main contributor to polluting emissions is transportation.

Gov. Tim Walz talked about his plan to join 11 other states in implementing clean car standards.

The clean car standards push for the adaption of Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) standards and Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Standards.

The LEV standard requires manufacturers to deliver vehicles to Minnesota that are less pollutant and produce lower greenhouse gases, while the ZEV standard will require manufacturers to deliver more electric vehicle options to Minnesota.

“For people out there who want to look at low emission vehicles or zero-emission vehicles, the manufacturers sell them in the states that have the clean air standards. Which means we only get to choose 13 out the 40 that are out there. It’s estimated there will be over 100 models available in the next two years that gives choice to the market and allows people to reduce their carbon footprint," Walz said.

Walz then touched on the necessary infrastructure needed for electric vehicle usage.

"What we’re going to do in the state of Minnesota is partner is make sure we are partners in building out the robust charging stations that need to be there,” Walz continued.

While there was much discussion of electric vehicle usage, pros of using biofuels were also discussed.

“We have been in support for increase use for bio feels for a number of years now. Not only biodiesel but ethanol as well. They were talking about 80 percent of the vehicle fleet being electric isn’t until 2050. We have to do something now. Luckily for the state of Minnesota, we have something right now that will biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions over 50 percent to petroleum diesel. As the grid is using more solar and wind, plants are able to use that electricity to make biofuels," said Joe Smentek, Executive Director of Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.

Walz spoke about how the movement for cleaner energy, will only create more jobs, with the goal to be using 100% renewable energy by 2050.

“Whether they believe in climate change or not, it’s going to come for all of us. It’s just reckless of us not to plan accordingly. The idea is all things we are doing is economically smart, creates more jobs and creates more home energy here at home,” Walz said.

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