Michigan is on the road to carbon neutrality by 2050, per an executive order Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed on Wednesday.
Whitmer made the announcement at a U.S. Climate Alliance virtual meeting. That’s a group of states led by governors who have committed to addressing climate change according to the framework laid out by the Paris Agreement, which President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from in 2017.
This makes Michigan the ninth state to sign onto a goal date for carbon neutrality. Whitmer said it’s necessary because Michigan is already seeing the harsh impacts of climate change. “We saw historic flooding in the midst of this pandemic the likes of which we hadn’t seen in 500 years,” she said.
“Fighting climate change is good for our health, it’s good for our environment, and we know it’s good for our economy too. We won’t wait any longer, we will take action together.”
Additionally, “to ensure steady progress toward this ultimate statewide goal, and to prevent irreparable harm to our ecosystem, residents, and businesses in the interim,” Whitmer is committing the state to a shorter-term goal: reducing state greenhouse gas emissions 28% below 1990 levels by 2025.
Whitmer’s order outlines the process for getting the state to carbon neutrality by 2050.
The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is ordered to come up with a MI Healthy Climate Plan, and then implement it. That plan will be developed and implemented by a Council on Climate Solutions, which will be staffed by heads of various state agencies, as well as 14 state residents appointed by the governor.
Environmental justice is also a theme of Whitmer’s directive. In developing the climate plan, the Council must identify “solutions to resolve impact disparities across Michigan and [recommend] targeted solutions for communities disproportionately impacted by the changing climate.”