Making Sure Michigan Has a Strong Climate Plan
Michigan can and should be a leader in solving the climate crisis to prevent the climate impacts we're now seeing from getting much worse. Yet the state's draft climate plan released in mid-January doesn't get us where we need to be to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. We need a plan that reflects the urgency that science demands - and we have less than a month to fix it.
Along with leading climate organizations and hundreds of Michigan citizens, we have called on the state to urge they craft a stronger MI Healthy Climate Plan.
Over 800 of you added your name to our letter, calling for a bolder and more equitable plan. The draft plan is now being reworked to take into account your comments and suggestions and is set to reach the governor's desk for final approval by Earth Day 2022.
The science is clear that to avoid climate impacts - like the flooding of our homes and the wildfires out west - from getting much worse, we must reduce global climate emissions to zero by 2050, and cut emissions 50% by 2030.1 This means moving rapidly off fossil fuels. Not only will this slow climate impacts, but climate solutions like more efficient homes, electric vehicles, and solar power create jobs and make healthier communities in the process.
This means all energy sources in Michigan will be powered by zero-carbon sources, including electricity, buildings, and transportation.
These goals are ambitious, but necessary, and achievable if we immediately get to work.
Michigan Needs a Strong Action Plan
For the past year the State of Michigan, the Council on Climate Solutions, and five Workgroups have been working to develop the plan detailing how we can achieve these goals. This is the most ambitious undertaking in Michigan to address the climate crisis and it is critical that we get it right.
The draft plan was just released and it does not get us to where we need to be. We now have until March 14th to fix it.
More than 400 people signed onto our letter in December 2021, outlining what needs to be included in a strong climate plan. Now, we're collecting signatures to tell the state they need to edit the draft plan in specific, science-backed ways.
We need strong public comment right now to make sure the MI Healthy Climate Plan is as strong as possible so we can reach carbon neutrality by 2050, which science tells us is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
How Can Michigan Achieve Carbon Neutrality?
According to modeling by Rocky Mountain Institute, for Michigan to limit warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, by 2030 we must:
- Reduce transportation sector emissions by 35-40% relative to 2005 levels,
- Reduce electricity generation emissions by 90% relative to 2005 levels,
- And reduce building sector emissions by 50% relative to 2005 levels.
In short, to reach our 2050 goals we must make major changes very soon. Those changes should focus on efforts to decarbonize our electricity and electrify everything. We have the technology now to decarbonize our power sector and decarbonizing other sectors depends on achieving zero-carbon power generation. Currently, less than 15% of Michigan's electricity comes from renewable sources.
 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC 1.5C Report: https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/
 Carbon offsets can lead to increased pollution in frontline communities, double counting and increasing climate emissions overall, and other problems. There are some limited ways to truly offset carbon emissions, and those must be designed well and reserved for the most difficult sectors to decarbonize. See this comprehensive article from Vox.