Lt. Governor Sends Off Minnesota COP23 Delegates

The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) kicks off next week, bringing nations of the world together to continue their work on strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change. The conference will focus on strategizing and solidifying how participating countries will implement the Paris Agreement. Climate Generation is sending a multi-sector delegation to COP23, representing education, law, philanthropy, youth, elected officials, and indigenous communities of Minnesota. As a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, our state is committed to leading on climate and fulfilling Paris Agreement goals toward a renewable energy future.

This year, U.S. federal presence at COP23 will be lacking due to the Trump administration’s climate science rejection and decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Our delegates, state leaders, and other climate champions across the country will show what true climate action looks like. Climate Generation is proud to be a part of the U.S. People’s Delegation, a group uniting organizations across the U.S. who are sending delegates to COP23 to show the world that the force for bold climate action in the face of federal opposition is still strong. Other delegations attending from Minnesota include representatives from the University of Minnesota, Macalester College, Fresh Energy, School of Environmental Studies, St. Paul Academy, and more.

We were honored to bring together representatives from these Minnesota COP23 delegations to meet with Lt. Governor Tina Smith in preparation for their departure. Delegates shared their sector’s focus in relationship to climate change and what they are eager to observe and discuss during their time at the conference. In the wake of the Trump administration vowing to pull out of the Paris Accord and repeal the Clean Power Plan, the global hope instilled by those policies is now taken on by state, city, business, and local community leaders.

The Lt. Governor encouraged delegates that the power of public opinion, dedication, and determination is behind them as they represent our state on an international stage at COP23. The growth in the clean energy sector, the resilient “We’re Still In” movement, and the willingness of local groups to take action has displayed that progress will be made, regardless of the choices the federal government makes.

“The science will continue to drive these conversations forward,” Lt. Governor Smith said.

Our delegates were encouraged to communicate back to the Minnesota administration what they hear on international climate progress to continue to move forward in Minnesota. Daily blogs and weekly webinars from our delegates’ Window Into COP23 program will highlight their on-the-ground observations of the international negotiations. Their unique voices representing their community sectors are vital to climate change solutions; we believe all voices must be present at the decision-making table.

The Paris Agreement not only includes greenhouse gas reduction targets, but also education, financial, research, innovation, and technological targets. Governor Mark Dayton and the Lt. Governor are determined to make progress on carbon reduction in our state because it is the way forward to protect public health, ensure environmental stewardship, and grow the economy.

“We have so much hope for what we can continue to push on,” said Lt. Governor Smith. “We’re still in, and we’re doing this.”

Follow our delegation’s experience through the Window Into COP23 program, and save the date for our Post-COP23 panel on November 27th, 12 to 1 p.m., offering a reflection and inside look into next steps for multi-sector climate action in Minnesota.

Participate in the COP23 conversation on social media with us using #MNCOP23 and #USPeoplesDelegation.

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