Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed Executive Order 2020-182 and Executive Directive 2020-10 to create the MI Healthy Climate Plan.
The governor’s plan will protect Michiganders’ public health and the environment and help develop new clean energy jobs by putting Michigan on a path towards becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2050.
“The science is clear – climate change is directly impacting our public health, environment, our economy and our families,” says Whitmer. “This dangerous reality is already causing harm throughout Michigan – with communities of color and low-income Michiganders suffering disproportionately – which is why I’m taking immediate action to protect our state. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them a cleaner, safer and healthier world.”
Executive Directive 2020-10 formally sets the goal of economic decarbonization in Michigan by 2050. Transitioning to carbon neutrality will mitigate the future harms of climate change and enable Michigan to take full advantage of the ongoing global energy transformation – from the jobs it will generate, to the protections it will provide for natural resources, to the savings it will bring to communities and utility customers.
To ensure steady progress toward this goal – and to prevent irreparable harm to Michigan’s ecosystem, residents and businesses in the interim – the directive aims to achieve a 28% reduction below 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
Additionally, the Department of the Treasury must develop and implement an Energy Transition Impact Project to assist communities in maintaining critical services and ensuring high-quality employment for workers while moving toward a more sustainable future when faced with the closure of energy facilities.
To achieve these statewide goals, the directive tasks the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), under the leadership of its Office of Climate and Energy, to develop and implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan. It will serve as Michigan’s action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning toward carbon neutrality throughout the economy. To help immediately position state government as a leader in these efforts, the directive tasks the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget with taking specific steps to increase energy efficiency and work towards carbon neutrality in new state buildings and facilities.
Executive Order 2020-182 creates an advisory council within EGLE to guide the department in its development and implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The Council on Climate Solutions will identify and recommend opportunities for the development and effective implementation of emissions-reduction strategies while focusing on targeted solutions for communities disproportionately being affected by the climate crisis. The council and EGLE will work closely with EGLE’s Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate – created by Whitmer’s Executive Order 2019-06 in February 2019 – to ensure fairness for and representation from underserved communities.
Executive Directive 2020-10 and Executive Order 2020-182 are effective immediately.
Photo: Governor Gretchen Whitmer