The MI Healthy Climate Plan sets goals to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The MI Healthy Climate Plan sets goals to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Governor Whitmer’s administration unveiled the final version of its plan to begin addressing climate change in Michigan. The plan calls for carbon neutrality by 2050, prioritizing electric vehicle incentives, renewable energy generation, and job training to prepare for emerging clean-tech industrial sectors. A welcome late edition to the final version from previous drafts was the inclusion of land and water protection as a primary goal.

Dan Brown and I had been critical of the draft plan because land and water protection had been mostly ignored. The final version gives environmental protection better standing. Numerous environmental and climate action organizations provided feedback to the state, and it appears their voices were heard.

The MI Healthy Climate Plan sets a goal of protecting 30% of Michigan's lands and waters by 2030.
The MI Healthy Climate Plan sets a goal of protecting 30% of Michigan’s lands and waters by 2030. Graphic: Michigan LCV.

A key priority now in the plan:

“Protect Michigan’s Land and Water: Protect 30 percent of Michigan’s land and water by 2030 to naturally capture GHG emissions, maintain and improve access to recreational opportunities for all Michiganders, and protect biodiversity. Leverage innovative strategies to support climate-smart agriculture.”

You can read the full plan here.

Some other key goals in the plan are:

  • Reach 100% carbon neutrality by 2050
  • Achieve 60% power generation from renewable sources by 2030
  • Close all coal plants by 2030
  • Commit to a minimum of 40% of state funding for climate-related and water infrastructure initiatives in Michigan’s disadvantaged communities.
  • Build charging infrastructure to support 2 million electric vehicles by 2030
  • Improve efficiency in homes and buildings to reduce emissions from heating 17% by 2030
  • Increase Michigan’s recycling rate to 45% and reduce food waste by 50% by 2030

These are fine goals that align with national and international agreements, but they are just goals in a plan. What matters are the actions taken and the actual carbon kept out of the atmosphere. Doing that will require holding elected officials to their promise of providing a healthy environment for future generations.

Our friends at the Michigan League of Conservation Voters have made it simple for you to take two actions to help turn the plan to action:

Implementation of this plan is essential for the the health of the Huron River. There is no scenario where a healthy river can persist without a hospitable climate and familiar weather patterns. On this Earth Day, it is important to celebrate the success this plan represents and to loudly advocate for swift execution of the strategies.

— Rebecca Esselman and Dan Brown

To learn more about the urgency of addressing climate change and what we can do collectively and individually read It’s Painfully Clear What We Need to Do About Climate Change.