New Michigan report aims for state to be carbon neutral by 2050 – is it possible?

By investing in renewable energy, Michigan hopes to protect residents from the worsening impacts of climate change.

A flooded sidewalk

Flooding in Detroit's Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood, July 2019.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has released the final draft of its ambitious climate plan. It’s called the “MI Healthy Climate Plan” and includes benchmarks to make the state carbon neutral by 2050.

Aside from moving to clean energy, there are also goals to add more public transportation options and further incentive electric vehicles.

“Think of the heartache we’re saving people when they’re not losing their treasured pictures in basement flooding.”— Liesl Clark, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Listen: A look into Michigan’s latest climate goals.



Liesl Clark is the director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. She also chairs the U.P. Energy Task Force and Council on Climate Solutions.

Clark says it helps to think of the plan from a climate adaptation perspective.

“If we make the improvements,” says Clark, “both from a climate mitigation perspective, as well as from a water infrastructure and investment perspective, think of the heartache we’re saving people when they’re not losing their treasured pictures in basement flooding.”

Nick Schroeck is an environmental law expert and the Associate Dean of Experiential Education and Associate Professor at Detroit Mercy School of Law. He says that while the plan sounds expedient, the sooner we can enact climate mitigation, the better.

“I think it’s entirely achievable…very much so achievable, for us to get to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030,” says Schroeck, “which is only 8 short years away, but we would need legislation to force that to happen.”

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