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MADISON — Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes today announced the release of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change Report. The report includes 55 climate solutions across nine sectors that will lay the foundation for the state to better adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, while also seeking environmental justice and economic opportunities in renewable energy and conservation.
In October 2019, Gov. Evers signed Executive Order #52 creating the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change and appointed Lt. Gov. Barnes to chair the task force. Members of the public can read the report on the task force website here.
“Climate change is an imminent threat to our state, our economy, and our kids’ future,” said Gov. Evers. “We can’t ignore the reality facing our state, our country, and our world, and we have a lot of work to do to start meaningfully addressing climate change in Wisconsin. I want to thank the folks on this task force for their good work, and I look forward to working together to take action to address this crisis.”
Over the last year, the task force worked to identify strategies to combat climate change by studying recent science and data, learning from Native Nations, farmers, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and local governments that are already taking action to address the crisis, and, most importantly, listening to the experiences of Wisconsinites—particularly those of communities that have been excluded from policymaking in the past.
“The climate crisis is taking a toll on everyone in our state, but communities of color and low-income communities are more likely to face the harshest impacts of climate change, despite contributing the least to the problem,” said Lt. Gov. Barnes. “In order to address this crisis and the environmental injustices associated with it, we must take urgent action, and we must ensure those actions are equitable and inclusive—anything less will continue the long pattern of environmental racism we have witnessed in this country.”
The solutions in the report range from the creation of a state office to address environmental injustices, green job training programs for displaced and marginalized workers, funding to help farmers adopt more sustainable practices, reimplementing transportation policies that promote clean, alternative methods of transportation, and statutory changes to help the energy sector transition to cleaner energy production.
“The recommendations presented by this task force include broad statewide representation, with input from the public and private sectors alike,” said Kristofer Canto, Enterprise Risk Management Senior Analyst at American Family Insurance and Chair of the Healthy Communities and a Strong Economy Subcommittee of the task force. “We know climate change affects the health of individuals and communities in Wisconsin and also has an impact on businesses. These recommendations provide a roadmap for important dialogue and discussion as we create a low carbon economy in Wisconsin.”
The task force brought together a diverse coalition of farmers, environmental advocates, Indigenous leaders, and business executives, representing different perspectives, communities, and industries. These members worked collaboratively over the course of the year, uniting around the shared goal of making Wisconsin a cleaner, safer, and more equitable state.
“The task force recommendations will start Wisconsin on the path to tackle climate change in order to protect public health, all while stimulating our economy and creating jobs,” said Amber Meyer-Smith, Vice President of Programs and Government Relations at Clean Wisconsin and a member of the task force. “But now the hard work of getting them implemented begins, and we need people to call for action from their elected officials. We hope the unprecedented level of engagement during the task force process will continue as we work to get these recommendations enacted.”
To learn more about the work of the task force and to read the full report, please visit https://climatechange.