Michigan should power grid with renewables, reduce energy use, boost electrification in state climate plan. Over 400 individuals, groups send letter to Council on Climate Solutions, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy outlining recommendations for MI Healthy Climate Plan.
LANSING, Mich. – Nearly 30 Michigan organizations and more than 450 individuals and counting outlined key recommendations to use less energy, power the grid with renewable energy and electrify buildings, transportation and other major industries in a letter sent to The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Council on Climate Solutions.
The Council on Climate Solutions was created to advise Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and oversee the development and implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan, an action plan for the state to address the impacts of climate change, reduce emissions and transition to carbon neutrality by 2050. The Council on Climate Solutions is expected to make its final recommendations in the early part of 2022.
“Michigan’s climate plan must put our state on a path to a stable climate, and toward a cleaner, healthier future,” said Kate Madigan, director of the Michigan Climate Action Network. “Reducing dangerous pollution in our air and water also addresses the inequity that currently exists where some communities in our state are disproportionately impacted by reliance on fossil fuels. As we are asking EGLE and the council to review our recommendations, it is crucial the climate plan reduces emissions equitably and prioritizes environmental justice communities.”
“Right now, we are getting less than 15% of our state’s electricity from clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar,” said Charlotte Jameson, program director for legislative affairs, energy and drinking water at the Michigan Environmental Council. “It is critical that we invest heavily in energy efficiency to reduce our electricity demand and rapidly build out the wind and solar infrastructure needed to fully replace the fossil fuels generating our power. We must also focus on electrifying our transportation and building sectors, as these industries contribute heavily toward pollution that harms the air we breathe and the water we drink.”
“The transition away from fossil fuels is critical to reducing climate pollution, creating safer communities and protecting the health of all Michiganders,” said John Delurey, senior regional director at Vote Solar. “Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, lung disease and other serious ailments, and we see those health impacts disproportionately harming under-resourced communities. Increasing Michigan's investments in solar and other renewable energy solutions can reduce dangerous pollution while repowering struggling communities."
The groups suggest that without adopting the recommendations in their letter that they view as most critical, Michigan will not likely achieve Gov. Whitmer’s climate goals and will fall short of protecting future generations.
“Michigan is at the perfect inflection point to build a stronger, more prosperous and equitable state as we take on climate change,” said Tim Minotas, legislative and political coordinator for the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “It is imperative that the MI Healthy Climate Plan prioritize the urgency, scale and livelihoods of Michigan workers, and the disparate impact of climate change on vulnerable communities. At this moment, we have the opportunity to lead on climate by driving a just transition and protecting workers and growing our economy based in clean energy, sustainable manufacturing and electric transportation.”
Organizations that signed the letter include:
2030 Districts Network
Alliance for the Great Lakes
City of Ann Arbor
Clean Water Action
Detroit Greenways Coalition
DFD Architecture, LLC
Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association
Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition
Kalamazoo Nature Center
Leelanau Energy, Leelanau Housing Action Committee member
MI Air MI Health
Michigan Climate Action Network
Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action
Michigan Environmental Council
Michigan League of Conservation Voters
Natural Resources Defense Council
Northern Michigan University
Peace Education Center
Sierra Club Michigan Chapter
The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan
Transportation Riders United
Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition