The question was: Is man-made climate change real?
On Wednesday, Minnesota House members weighed in, with 79 lawmakers, including all 75 Democrats, voting yes, and 50 Republicans voting no. Five Republicans did not vote and five other Republicans voted yes.
Rochester-area legislators followed the statewide pattern: DFL state Reps. Tina Liebling and Duane Sauke voted yes. GOP Rep. Nels Pierson did not vote. And GOP Rep. Duane Quam voted no.
In southeastern Minnesota, Democrats Gene Pelowski (Winona) and Jeanne Poppe (Austin) voted yes, and Republicans Steve Drazkowski (Mazeppa), Greg Davids (Preston) and Barb Haley (Red Wing) voted no.
State Rep. Frank Horstein, DFL- Minneapolis, proposed adding the declaration to a much larger bill covering jobs, economic development, energy, climate and telecommunications policy and finance.
The specific declaration stated: “The Legislature finds and declares that greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities are a key cause of climate change.”
The vast majority of scientists agree that man-made climate change is real. Global warming happens when heat-trapping gases, such as carbon dioxide, linger in the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect. The question has been what to do about it.
Some Republicans argue that global warming is real but the consequences are too uncertain or unpredictable to know what to do about it. Others argue that there are no remedies or policy tools for fixing the problem that won’t cause havoc to the economy.
Others argue that aggressive action is needed now. In 2015, the Paris climate agreement was signed by 195 countries and international bodies.
It is an attempt to keep global average temperature increases well below 2 degrees Celsius and to try to limit rises to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Scientist argue that crossing the 2-degree threshold would cause severe environmental consequences that in some cases would be irreversible.
When GOP President Donald Trump was elected, he pulled the U.S. out of the agreement.
This year, DFL Gov. Tim Walz proposed a plan for making the state carbon-free and 100 percent dependent on clean energy for its electricity by 2050.