After a year of Workgroup and Council meetings, listening sessions, and stakeholder convenings, Michigan’s Governor Whitmer and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has now released the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The plan contains recommendations to ensure a greener, healthier Michigan, and is a bold step towards a carbon-neutral future.
Thanks to the efforts of our many partners and supporters, as well as members of the Michigan Council on Climate Solutions, EGLE made a number of improvements to the draft plan it released for public comment in January. The final MI Healthy Climate Plan contains important improvements to environmental justice commitments, prioritizing the needs of vulnerable communities who are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis. The plan mandates that at least 40% of state-wide funding for climate and water infrastructure go directly to BIPOC and low-income Michiganders. The updated plan also provides much-needed relief for residents who are energy-insecure, limiting household energy expenditures to 6% of annual income for low-income households. Critically, these policy measures will be enacted in partnership with devoted community leaders who know their neighbors’ unique challenges and needs best.
The updated MI Healthy Climate Plan also:
- makes much-needed provisions for an earlier phase-out of coal and a swifter statewide transition to clean energy,
- aims to generate 60% of Michigan’s energy from renewable sources and eliminate the use of coal by 2030,
- seeks to develop the grid and charging infrastructure to support 2 million electric vehicles by 2030,
- calls for a 15% annual increase in access to public transit and other clean mobility options across the state,
- strengthens recommendations to reduce carbon emissions from buildings, shifting the state’s building stock to cleaner energy sources, increasing energy efficiency, and lowering costs for Michigan families, and
- sets a goal of tripling the state’s recycling rate to 45% and cutting food waste in half by 2030.
The MI Healthy Climate Plan solidifies Michigan’s role at the forefront of the clean energy and electrification transition, making the case that we can combat climate change, address equity and advance economic opportunity for all Michiganders at the same time. The plan proposes to work with utility companies, automakers and many other key stakeholders to grow a clean energy sector that is already responsible for adding over 100,000 jobs and $5 billion of economic activity in the state’s economy every year. Job training and additional support for workers that might be impacted will also help to ensure a more just transition that works for the planet and for people.
Charles Griffith, Climate & Energy Director at the Ecology Center and a co-chair of the Transportation and Mobility Workgroup for the Council on Climate Solutions, knows what it took to draft the MI Healthy Climate Plan policy recommendations—and what it’ll take to implement them: “The final MI Healthy Climate Plan sets a solid foundation for the state to achieve carbon-neutrality while addressing environmental inequities, and we should take a well-deserved moment to celebrate this achievement,” says Griffith. “But now the real work begins. The Council, EGLE and the Whitmer administration will need to continue to engage the public and convene stakeholders to pursue implementation of the plan’s recommendations and policies, as well as work to address gaps and come up with additional solutions.”