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Climate Council and Gov. Granholm: Michigan must forge ahead with ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gases, become energy independent and create jobs

Environmental groups applaud unique agreement among diverse groups
Jul 30, 2009
LANSING, MI – Governor Jennifer Granholm’s Executive Directive (2009-4), released today, reflects the unique consensus on Michigan energy policy reforms reached recently by a diverse group of leaders from manufacturing, automotive industries, utility companies, environmental groups, universities, and government.

The 35-member Climate Action Council (MCAC), appointed by the governor more than a year ago, issued its final report with 54 specific recommended ways to cut Michigan’s green house gas emissions while protecting its economic future. The Governor’s Executive Directive affirms the Council’s proposed 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by the year 2050 with an intermediate step of a 20 percent reduction by 2020, and establishes several first steps for state government to take to lead the way to meeting this goal.

“The Climate Action Council report, and the Governor’s subsequent first step toward implementation, thoroughly debunk the argument that dealing with climate change will wreck the economy,” said Michael Garfield, MCAC member and head of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor. “It’s remarkable that the major greenhouse gas emitters in the state came to the conclusion that bold, immediate steps are not only necessary for our climate and environmental future but also are beneficial for Michigan’s economy.”

The report concludes that the state can create new jobs and income, become more energy independent and diversify and grow its economy by taking a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Savings of roughly $1 billion annually – primarily through energy efficiency programs – would be realized if all the recommendations are enacted. All but two of the conclusions were applauded by the state’s leading environmental groups.

“This is a blueprint for how Michigan can position itself as a leader in the national move toward a cleaner, modern economy that protects the planet and at the same time generates exciting new job opportunities for smart aggressive entrepreneurs,” said Chris Kolb, President of the Michigan Environmental Council.

Overall, the Council’s policy recommendations would generate a net cumulative savings of $10 billion for Michiganders between 2009 and 2025, the report estimates. Most of the savings would occur through energy efficiency measures that reduce ratepayers’ costs.

“With federal climate change policies imminent, Michigan needs to be a leader and control its own destiny,” said Lisa Wozniak, Michigan League of Conservation Voters Executive Director. “Implementing the recommendations in this report, which fully support the ReEnergize Michigan agenda announced on Monday, would give us a seat at the table, and, as the saying goes, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. The ball is now squarely in the court of the Michigan legislature.”

Key recommendations in the report include:
  • Improvements in energy-saving construction codes
  • More aggressive use of renewable energy like solar and wind power
  • Energy savings through better electricity transmission systems and “Smart Grid” technology
  • More efficient commercial and industrial applications like boilers and lighting systems
  • Adoption of a low-carbon fuels standard to stimulate Michigan agriculture and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
The report suggests a multipronged approach to implementing the recommendations including utilization of market forces through carbon credit trading; new regulations; and financial incentives like tax credits.

The Michigan Legislature took small first steps toward meeting the dual goals of climate change and job creation last year with passage of energy efficiency requirements and the state’s first renewable energy standard. Moving to the next level by advancing the ReEnergize Michigan platform would more fully realize Michigan’s energy economy-leading potential.

“Building on the momentum from last year’s bipartisan energy agreement will be critical if Michigan is to compete effectively in the new clean energy economy,” said Cyndi Roper, Director of Clean Water Action – Michigan. “This report is perhaps the best indication yet that this is true.”

The Climate Action Council Plan is available at: http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-50990-213752--,00.html
Hugh McDiarmid, Michigan Environmental Council: 248-660-4300
Mike Garfield, Ecology Center Director: 734-761-3186 x104
Cyndi Roper, Clean Water Action Michigan Director: 517-203-0754
Lisa Wozniak, MI League of Conservation Voters Executive Director: 734-222-9650
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