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Governor Whitmer releases climate plan to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050

Middelgrunden wind farm
Ilmari Karonen
You have to go into European waters to find offshore wind farms today. The Middelgrunden wind farm near Copenhagen Denmark.

Michigan officials have released a draft of a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

The Michigan Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy released the draft MI Healthy Climate Plan as an outline of how the state plans to reach Governor Gretchen Whitmer's goal of getting the state carbon neutral by 2050.

The plan will be open to public comment on two upcoming online sessions.

The plan will go across several sectors including transportation, electricity, industry, agriculture and commercial.

“I think that it’s totally doable with a combination of current technology and also the innovation we will no doubt see in the next years, decades," said Abby Wallace, a policy specialist at the Michigan Environmental Council.

But still, there is more work to be done, she said.

“There are very few actual specifics around, like here’s where the money’s going to come from in order to fund this, here’s what agency is going to take point on this," Wallace said.

The first draft suggests closing coal plants by 2035. Another goal is to reach 50% renewable energy usage across the state by 2030.

Part of the plan includes installing charging stations across the state to support two million electric vehicles by 2030.

Environmental officials from across the state sat on committees and gave input about the plan.

Charles Griffith, the director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Ecology Center is encouraged by the current plan. He worked on the transportation committee and he and his fellow colleagues plan to attend the first public listening session.

"This plan is just the start and it's going to take a lot of follow through to ensure that action is taken to implement the dozens of recommendations are in the plan," Griffith said.

"The focus of the plan is good and it focuses on the things we need to do right away."

The two virtual listening sessions will be on Wednesday, January 26 from 10 a.m. to noon and Tuesday, February 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.
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