Michigan is now the ninth U.S. state to commit to 100% economic carbon neutrality under the just announced MI Healthy Climate Plan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-182 and Executive Directive 2020-10 to create a plan that will protect Michiganders’ public health and the environment and help develop new clean energy jobs by putting Michigan on a path towards becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2050. The Executive Directive further stipulates that Michigan will aim to achieve a 28% reduction below 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. California has banned the sales of internal combustion engines in vehicles by 2035.
“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.”
The Department of the Treasury “must develop and implement an Energy Transition Impact Project to assist communities in maintaining critical services and ensuring high quality employment for workers while moving toward a more sustainable future when faced with the closure of energy facilities,” the directive says.
The Executive Directive says the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), under the lead of its Office of Climate and Energy, will develop and implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan. It will serve as Michigan’s action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning toward carbon neutrality throughout the economy.
The Directive 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 under-served communities.
To help immediately position state government as a leader in these efforts, the Executive Directive also proclaims that the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget take specific steps to increase energy efficiency and work towards carbon neutrality in new state buildings and facilities.