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Whitmer sets goal to make Michigan carbon-neutral by 2050

Orders call for development of clean energy jobs

FILE - In this July 27, 2018, file photo, the Dave Johnston coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. Wyoming's governor is promoting a Trump administration study that says capturing carbon dioxide emitted by coal-fired power plants would be an economical way to curtail the pollution  findings questioned by a utility that owns the plants and wants to shift away from the fossil fuel in favor of wind and solar energy. Supporters say carbon capture would save coal by pumping carbon dioxide  a greenhouse gas emitted by power plants  underground instead of into the atmosphere. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)
FILE - In this July 27, 2018, file photo, the Dave Johnston coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. Wyoming's governor is promoting a Trump administration study that says capturing carbon dioxide emitted by coal-fired power plants would be an economical way to curtail the pollution findings questioned by a utility that owns the plants and wants to shift away from the fossil fuel in favor of wind and solar energy. Supporters say carbon capture would save coal by pumping carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas emitted by power plants underground instead of into the atmosphere. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has set a goal of economic decarbonization by the year 2050 to mitigate impacts of climate change and to create clean energy jobs.

On Wednesday, Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-182 and Executive Directive 2020-10 to create the MI Healthy Climate Plan.

Executive Directive 2020-10 formally sets the goal of economic decarbonization in Michigan by 2050.

In a release, the governor’s office said, “transitioning to carbon neutrality will mitigate the future harms of climate change and enable Michigan to take full advantage of the ongoing global energy transformation from the jobs it will generate for our skilled workforce, to the protections it will provide for natural resources, to the savings it will bring to communities and utility customers.”

The Executive Directive also states Michigan will aim to achieve a 28 percent reduction below 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

As of 2016, Michigan accounted for about 3 percent of total emissions in the U.S., the tenth most for any state. Michigan is the ninth state to set a carbon-neutral goal.

The U.S. as a country does not have a carbon goal, but many other countries do, including Canada, the U.K., Switzerland, Spain, China and the entire European Union.

“The science is clear – climate change is directly impacting our public health, environment, our economy, and our families,” said Governor Whitmer. "This dangerous reality is already causing harm throughout Michigan, with communities of color and low-income Michiganders suffering disproportionately, which is why I’m taking immediate action to protect our state. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them a cleaner, safer and healthier world.

“Through comprehensive and aggressive steps, we will combat the climate crisis by formally setting and relentlessly pursuing a goal of statewide decarbonization by 2050. These bold actions will provide critical protections for our environment, economy, and public health, now and for years to come. It will also position Michigan to attract a new generation of clean energy and energy efficiency jobs.”

Executive Order 2020-182 creates an advisory council within EGLE to guide the department in its development and implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The Council on Climate Solutions will identify and recommend opportunities for the development and effective implementation of emissions-reduction strategies while focusing on targeted solutions for communities disproportionately being affected by the climate crisis. 

The Council and EGLE will work closely with EGLE’s Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate – created by Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 2019-06 in February 2019 – to ensure fairness for and representation from underserved communities.

The governor will appoint individuals who represent the range of sectors, experiences, and expertise relevant to this issue. To apply for appointment to the Council on Climate Solutions, please visit www.michigan.gov/appoinments and fill out the application. Select “Council for Climate Solutions” from the drop-down menu under the Appointment Information section of the application. All applications must be received by Sunday, November 1, 2020.


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