This past Saturday, Irwin Hall at St. Olaf was full of St. Olaf students and faculty along with a handful of Carleton students eagerly waiting to hear what Amy Klobuchar had to say on climate change. She began by showing some fun video clips about her visit to Greenland last summer in which, decked out in rain gear, she floats in fishing boats around icebergs. As the video is geared towards kids, Klobuchar frequently uses it when she speaks at schools about climate change.
Though Greenland’s melting ice sheets may not seem directly linked to the lives of Minnesotans, Klobuchar made the issue if rising global temperature hit home by drawing a connection with the decreasing water levels that we are currently experiencing in the Great Lakes. She explained that barge traffic is an essential part of the economy and supplies many jobs in northern Minnesota. The dropping water level of Lake Superior has already done damage to the barge traffic industry.
When Klobuchar approached the issue of what is being done to address such problems, she made it clear that leadership is coming from individual states, not Washington. It was evident that she feels that Minnesota is doing its part to be a leader on climate change. She was beaming as she referenced Minnesota’s renewable energy standard which commits the state to using 25% renewables by the year 2025.
She made it clear that back in Washington, Minnesotans’ views on the environment are being represented and that she is backing the Lieberman-Warner bill. (The bill would commit the U.S. to a greenhouse gas emission reduction of 20% of 2005 levels by 2020 and 70% of 2005 levels by 2050). Citing the successes the U.S. had in combating acid rain in the 90s with a cap and trade system, Klobuchar explained that she also supports such a cap and trade system for carbon. She believes that market based approaches are most effective—Minnesota would do well in such as system by further developing carbon sequestration technologies.
Amy Wilson, class of ’07, was generally impressed with Klobuchar’s talk and the way in which she is willing to engage with students. Wilson was particularly impressed by how Kloubachar was able to use Lake Superior’s barge traffic to fit Minnesota into a global issue. Wilson ,however, said that she was thrown off a little bit by Klobuchar’s acceptance of the Lieberman-Warner bill. Wilson explained that despite the 2007 IPCC recommendations for using 1990 green house gas levels as a benchmark, the bill proposes using 2005 levels. Wilson also noted that Klobuchar neglected to mention this controversial aspect of the bill.
Overall, the afternoon was filled with mutual respect. The audience thanked her for all that she is doing in Washington and she reciprocated by thanking them for leading the way on their college campus.
To check out some of Klobuchar’s photos from Greenland, visit:
To learn more about her positions on environmental issues, visit: