Carbon neutrality: What does it mean and what industries are impacted?
LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order, putting the state on a path to carbon neutrality by the year 2050. You may have heard the two words before. Putting it simply, it’s when the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions going into the atmosphere are removed by other means – leaving no carbon footprint.
“We’ve seen historic fires in the south, we’ve seen historic floods. In Michigan, we’ve had historic flooding as well, and so what we know Is that climate change is having a real impact on people’s everyday life,” said Sierra Club Michigan Chapter’s Justin Onwenu.
Governor Whitmer echoed those same words Wednesday about climate change. Joining 8 other states, she signed an executive order creating the MI Healthy Climate Plan.
“What the executive order is doing is setting a target that says that we’re going to have a clean environment, clean air and water and we’re going to have a healthy environment and climate so we’re not experiencing all of the climate driven disasters,” Onwenu said.
A key player in achieving carbon neutrality in Michigan is the automotive industry.
“The federal government will put emission standards out there. And for us, Ford, Chrysler, GM they’ve really went above and beyond to not only maintain and improve those standards, they’re now even better than that,” said UAW Region 1D Director Steve Dawes.
For example, engineering cars to be all electric, hybrid, and improving carbon emissions in gas powered vehicles.
“If you went back five or six years ago and saw someone driving a Chevy diesel pickup truck, when they took off you’d see these big black clouds of smoke. You see the brand new one that rolls off right now -- you can’t even tell it’s a diesel,” Dawes said.
Under the MI Healthy Climate Plan, it’s more than just carbon neutrality. It’s about sustainable clean energy jobs for future generations, like wind farms, solar power, clean air, water, and the preservation of our natural resources.
'I think investing and taking on climate right now gives us an opportunity to create jobs, to clean up the air and I think by signing that target at 2050 with intermediate goals, we’re giving ourselves the time necessary to make the investments that we need," Onwenu said.
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