Minnesota Signs Under 2 MOU Climate Agreement

For Immediate Release

October 16, 2015
Contact: Alex Barnum, (916) 324-9670

SACRAMENTO—The State of California welcomed the announcement today that Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has signed the Under 2 MOU, a global compact among cities, states and provinces worldwide to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.

“Only by working together can we address the serious threats of climate change,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Matthew Rodriquez. “Minnesota’s participation in our growing coalition demonstrates that our determination to avert the impacts of global warming, while developing a clean and sustainable energy economy, is a goal shared by states across the country and around the world.”

The Under 2 MOU, spearheaded by California and the German state of Baden Württemberg, has now been signed or endorsed by 46 jurisdictions representing 19 countries and five continents, collectively representing 497 million people and more than $14.6 trillion in GDP. If the signatories represented a single country, it would be the world’s second largest economy behind only the United States.

In addition to Minnesota and California, the other American states that have signed the agreement are New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

“By signing this MOU, Minnesota continues to show leadership on the crucial need to reduce carbon pollution and build a clean energy economy,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Minnesota has demonstrated that we can have clean, reliable and affordable energy. Through our efforts we have also improved public health and created 15,000 clean energy jobs with more than $1 billion in annual wages. This is progress we can build on.”

In 2007, Minnesota passed landmark bipartisan legislation called the Next Generation Energy Act. The legislation set goals for energy conservation, renewable energy use and greenhouse gas reductions. This includes reducing greenhouse gas pollution levels to 30 percent and 80 percent below the 2005 level by 2025 and 2050, respectively. Legislation passed in 2013 included key provisions to further promote renewable energy development, especially solar power.

“We can make a better Minnesota and a better world by joining this worldwide initiative to address the serious challenges of climate change,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Moving forward to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future will be good for both our environment and our economy.”

The Under 2 MOU provides a template for nations to follow as work continues toward an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. The agreement was first announced in May at a Sacramento event hosted by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

Under the agreement, signatories commit to either reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 or achieve a per capita annual emission target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050. These targets allow each individual government to tailor emission reduction plans to fit regional needs.

The pact seeks to enhance cooperation to achieve these goals through a range of activities, including:

  • Developing mid-term targets needed to support long-term reduction goals;
  • Sharing technology, scientific research and best practices to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy;
  • Collaborating to expand the use of zero-emission vehicles;
  • Taking steps to ensure consistent monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Improving air quality by reducing short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane; and
  • Assessing the projected impacts of climate change on communities.

For more information on the agreement, please visit www.under2mou.org. The full text of the agreement can be found here.