Franken to attend UN Climate Change Conference in Paris

Al and Franni Franken @ Studio 204. California Bldg.

UNglobeSenator Al Franken will be attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in two weeks according to The Rochester Post-Bulletin. The 11-day conference, which begins on Nov. 30, will work to establish a new international agreement to fight climate change.  There’s no mention of the trip on Senator Franken’s official website.

While visiting an organic farm in southern Minnesota to promote extending solar energy tax credits, Franken touted the renewable as a way to combat climate change .  The Rochester farm received a $15,000 taxpayer-funded grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to install solar panels. Franken praised the program during the stop and said he “fought hard” for the $50 million federal expenditure.

One of the key issues to be discussed at the Paris negotiations will be clean energy finance, according to The Washington Post.  It’s expected that wealthy nations, like the U.S., will help finance “broad scale energy projects in developing countries” to help the world’s poor.

There’s already been an international agreement, lead by the Obama administration, to cut export credits for coal plants that will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.  The United States is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) and has been pushing for the subsidy cuts.

Franken recently joined Senator Elizabeth Warren and six other Senators to urge the Obama administration to work to reduce carbon emissions from coal plants on federal lands.  He also introduced a resolution in August, along with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and four other Democrat Senators, to “stand with Pope Francis” on the issue of climate change calling for “immediate action” on the issue.

The state of North Dakota, which relies on coal for 78% of its electricity according to The Star Tribune, has taken the state of Minnesota to court over its 2007 renewable energy law, arguing that it effectively makes the sale of North Dakota coal-generated electricity illegal in Minnesota. About 46% of Minnesota’s electricity came from coal-fired plants in 2013 per the U.S. Energy Information Administration.