Draft climate plan sets stage for bolder action
On Friday, Michigan will release a draft of its latest plan to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050 and protect the state's people and places from climate change.
The Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) presented the draft plan to the Council on Climate Solutions, which included all the recommendations put forth by the Council’s workgroups. EGLE will take public comment starting Friday before finalizing the plan.
Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer for the Michigan Environmental Council, co-chaired the Council on Climate Solutions' buildings and housing workgroup. Jameson offered praise for the state administration developing a plan and noted the need for bolder action.
"Michigan is already experiencing the devastating effects of our changing climate, from flooding to power outages, crop failures to failing infrastructure,” she said. "We know the next decade will be decisive in our effort to avoid even worse impacts. EGLE’s draft plan is a solid foundation from which to develop a bolder, robust plan to fully decarbonize Michigan’s economy. The Environmental Council looks forward to working with EGLE, the Council on Climate Solutions, and the administration to strengthen the plan."
Among the draft plan's highlights are closing all coal plants by 2035, ensuring utility companies run on 50% renewable energy by 2030 and installing the charging infrastructure to support 2 million electric vehicles by 2030. At least 40% of all climate investments under the plan would go toward communities that have felt the worst of climate change's effects, following the Biden administration’s Justice40 Initiative.
But other portions need substantial improvement to meet the state's ambitions , said Abby Wallace, energy & climate change policy coordinator for the Environmental Council. She said the final plan must incorporate the following in order to meet its carbon neutrality goals:
- Transitioning to energy efficient, electric heat pumps to cut the 40% of greenhouse gas emissions caused by buildings.
- Removing the low-carbon fuel standard that would ramp up ethanol production detrimental to land, wildlife and water.
- Moving the power sector to 100% clean energy by 2035 instead of 2050.
"Michigan’s building stock is old, which leads Michiganders with frigid homes in winter and heating bills they struggle to afford," Wallace said. "EGLE’s draft plan has policies that will make buildings more efficient and save Michiganders money. But fully realizing the health and economic benefits of decarbonizing building stock requires Michigan to get serious about using electric, efficient heat pumps. The Environmental Council will ensure EGLE's final plan creates a solid roadmap to equitably make this happen."
The Environmental Council has already collected 116 signatures from residents calling for a stronger climate plan, adding to 402 signatures collected by the Michigan Climate Action Network.