A good start that needs improvements. Groups urge people to make public comment.
LANSING, MI— On Friday, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) released its draft plan to achieve Gov. Whitmer’s executive action to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050, which is necessary to address the climate crisis with the urgency science demands.
“This draft Climate Plan is a good start for our state toward a stable climate, but we it needs improvements if we are to achieve the ambitious and necessary goal for Michigan to be carbon neutral,” said Kate Madigan, Executive Director of the Michigan Climate Action Network. “This decade is a critical time to keep the climate impacts we are now seeing from getting much worse. We urge people to make public comment urging the state to strengthen this plan to ensure Michigan is on track to fully decarbonize.”
The draft plan was presented to the Council on Climate Solutions after nearly one year of Council meetings, and after the five Workgroups created and presented to the Council their recommendations for each sector.
The draft plan recommends closing all coal plants by 2035, setting a goal to reach 50% renewable electricity by 2030, and installing charging stations to support 2 million electric vehicles by 2030. The plan also follows the Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, calling for at least 40% of all climate investments in the plan to go toward vulnerable communities.
Madigan said that other portions of the plan need strengthening if our state is to reach our carbon neutrality goals:
- The plan should set a goal for 100% carbon free electricity by 2035, not by 2050.
- The plan should acknowledge the need to decrease how much people drive, require transportation agencies to consider climate in their planning processes, and include specific actions to improve public transit.
- The plan should include more to decarbonize our buildings, which contribute 40% of the climate pollution in our state, including stronger energy efficiency standards for gas, and a plan to transition to efficient, electric heat pumps.
“Now is the time for everyone who cares about climate change to make our voices heard and help strengthen this plan,” added Madigan. “We know EGLE is hearing from industry and others who want to water down the ambitious timelines and actions needed; and we have to make sure they are right now hearing from the people who want this plan to be bolder.”
Before finalizing the plan, EGLE will take public comment at two virtual events, one on Jan .26 at 10 a.m., and one on Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. They also will be taking comments in writing until Feb. 14. The Michigan Climate Action Network will share talking points and other information to help people make public comment on the group’s website: www.miclimateaction.org.
The Michigan Climate Action Network has already collected 402 signatures from residents calling for a stronger climate plan, adding to the 116 signatures collected by the Michigan Environmental Council.