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Kalin to Participate in Climate Change Conference

Friday, December 11th, 2009 at 11:06 am

jeremykalinST. PAUL, MN – State Reps. Kate Knuth and Jeremy Kalin will travel Copenhagen this week to participate in the historic United Nations climate change summit currently underway.  Both Minnesota lawmakers are members of CLEAN (Coalition of Legislators for Energy Action Now), a group of energy leaders from more than 40 states working closely with the White House on federal clean energy jobs legislation.

“It is an honor to be participating in the world’s most important and anticipated Climate Change Conference,” said Rep. Knuth. “I look forward to being part of an historic event that will move us to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future, and sharing the bold steps we’ve already taken in Minnesota with the world.”

Recognized as a model for the new clean energy, Minnesota passed the nation’s strongest renewable energy standard in 2007.  Knuth, co-author of that landmark legislation, is considered one of the Legislature’s leading energy authorities, and also chief authored a law providing legislative oversight of the Midwest Regional Cap and Trade accord negotiations.

Knuth is traveling as a policy mentor to the Will Steger Foundation youth delegation, and while in Copenhagen will be a presenter at two events, including a panel discussion organized by the White House on December 17 with state and tribal leaders about efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  In addition to Knuth, presenters include Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and James Steele, Chairman of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of Montana.  Knuth will also take part in an event on December 14 with the Center for Climate Strategies, the same group that led the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group.

Rep. Jeremy Kalin, national chair of CLEAN, says it will be important to share the progress states and other local governments are making in the efforts to reduce harmful emissions. Kalin also noted the real economic benefits that accompany responsible environmental and energy policies.

“Clean energy policies are good for the environment and even better news for job creation,” said Kalin. “States have been leading the charge, and few have been as aggressive and forward thinking as Minnesota. Our nation-leading energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, and aggressive pollution reduction targets have resulted in real job growth for Minnesotans.”

On December 14, Kalin will also be presenting with the Center for Climate Strategies, and will travel to Sweden to strengthen ties between a number of Swedish clean-technology companies and the Chisago Lakes carbon-neutral industrial complex that’s being planned near Lindgren.

“It’s exciting to see the tangible results of Minnesota’s energy vision, and share our plans with potential global partners,” saidKalin.  “A recent report showed an increase of more than 4 percent in the growth of clean energy jobs over the last two years, even as other economic sectors continue to lag. The environmental and economic imperatives are clear, the benefits of aggressive action are well-documented, and the time to act is now.”

Knuth and Kalin will also be meeting with other young American elected officials while in Copenhagen to urge members of Congress to adopt Congress to start investing in new, safe energy technologies such as wind and solar power to help rebuild the nation’s our manufacturing base, create jobs, and grow the economy.

“Climate change is the world’s biggest environmental challenge,” said Knuth. “It will affect young people today and the world they live
in for years to come.  The time has come for America to take necessary action to improve the way we make and use energy, grow and sustain a new energy economy, and protect our environment and our world for future generations.”

Rep. Knuth will be blogging about the summit at the Eye on the Earth blog of the Institute on the Environment.  To follow read her accounts of the climate change summit blog.lib.umn.edu/ione/eyeonearth/

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