Climate change – ‘the cause of our lifetime:’ Opening remarks from EER

(ACEEE blog, 22 Oct 2019) How can energy efficiency help mitigate climate change? This topic got top billing at last week’s 2019 National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource in Minneapolis.

The 400-plus attendees discussed cutting-edge efficiency policies, programs, and technologies, as well as decarbonization, electrification, resilience, and grid-interactive efficient buildings.

The conference opened with speeches from Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey, whose city placed fourth in ACEEE’s 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard, Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, whose state ranked eighth in our 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, and Patti Poppe, president and CEO of CMS Energy and Consumers Energy.

Here are some inspirational excerpts from their opening remarks.

Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Mayor:

I don’t need to get up here and tell you about the crisis we have on our hands in regards to [climate change]. These are scary times, and scary times require bold action.

We don’t want to just be ahead of the curve in Minneapolis, we want to help set the curve, and we are doing a lot of work in that direction. 46,191 Minnesotans work in the energy efficiency sector in local, well-paying, cutting-edge jobs. Three in every four energy jobs in Minnesota are in energy efficiency…

The environmental impact is just one piece of the puzzle; there are economic, social, and health impacts that are going to impact us daily. Minneapolis is the city that is the second most impacted by climate change in the entire country…We are seeing our winters change…It used to be that the thaw would take place over like a month, but now it takes place over the span of a day or two. This means that we have all the snow and rain draining into the sewer system and heading to the Mississippi —and by the way, our sewer system was made in many cases about a hundred years ago, and to accommodate a significantly lower population and lower population density than what we have now. We’re talking about millions of dollars we need to spend to figure out how to deal with all this water all at once.

Minneapolis is not unique in that perspective, but we are taking significant actions to change the game. We’ve got the goal to get to 100% clean and renewable electricity in our whole city by 2030. But we’re not stopping there. We want to make sure that we’re as energy efficient as possible. We’re doing several things in that regard. In February we passed comprehensive energy benchmarking and disclosure policies. This includes time of sale and time of rent energy disclosure inquiries as well as expanding benchmarking to include residential buildings.

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ACEEE blog, 22 Oct 2019: Climate change – ‘the cause of our lifetime:’ Opening remarks from EER