Melissa Gavin of Cross Plains talks about how flood waters reached and damaged her house in 2018. Gavin attributes the flooding to climate change. (Photo © Andy Manis)
Melissa Gavin of Cross Plains talks about how flood waters reached and damaged her house in 2018. Gavin attributes the flooding to climate change. (Photo © Andy Manis)

The 120-page report was released Wednesday by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. 

After a year’s worth of work and meeting with citizens across Wisconsin, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on Wednesday released a 120-page climate change report.

The document, the culmination of work completed by the Gov. Tony Evers’ Task Force on Climate Change, includes 55 climate solutions across nine sectors of the state. According to a statement, the report lays 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.  

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. 

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Aspects of the plan that need legislative approval will likely be proposed to the GOP-controlled Legislature during its next session in January.  

“Climate change is an imminent threat to our state, our economy, and our kids’ future,” Evers said in a statement. “We can’t ignore the reality facing our state, our country, and our world. We have a lot of work to do to start meaningfully addressing climate change in Wisconsin.”

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. 

The task force also met with 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,” Barnes said in a statement.