A recent number of important city and state government actions will greatly help North Carolina reduce its carbon emissions in the coming years, starting with Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order to cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025.
Executive Order 80: NC’s Commitment to Address Climate Change & Transition to a Clean Energy Economy
With Cooper’s order, North Carolina joins states like California, Colorado and others that have established statewide targets for the reduction of the greenhouse gases (GHG) associated with climate change and commits the state to adherence to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Cooper is among 17 U.S. governors who have signed onto the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The executive order comes on the heels of a recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report about the urgent need to address GHG emissions and climate change as a whole, and the two most devastating hurricanes to hit the state in the last few years—Matthew and Florence.
Govern Cooper’s action highlights three main goals: a 40 percent reduction in GHGs by 2025 for the entire state, increasing the number of zero emission vehicles in the state by 80,000 by 2025, and reducing the energy consumption in state buildings by 40 percent from 2003 levels by 2025.
The executive order is a positive step for North Carolina as Clean Air Carolina, our members and our partners work for a cleaner environment while creating jobs at the same time. We look forward to working with state government to ensure their goals are achieved, while we continue to work with local governments.
Several city and county governments have passed resolutions to move towards 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, which means they will work to transition city fleets, buildings and the electric grid to renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
- Charlotte helped lead the way in this effort nearly a year ago and has recently released its draft Strategy Energy Action Plan (SEAP) which outlines the steps it will take to achieve a more sustainable future. The final SEAP will go to the full city council for a vote in December. Clean Air Carolina is helping lead a stakeholder process to provide comments on the draft plan.
- Asheville passed their 100 percent renewable energy resolution in late October, mirroring a similar move by Buncombe County in 2017.
- Wake County in October became the third county in the state and the tenth nationally to adopt a 100 percent clean energy resolution.
- Durham County this month is expected to approve their sustainable resolution. As members of the city/county appointed Environmental Affairs Board, Clean Air Carolina board member, Don Addu, and our Medical Advocates for Healthy Air program manager, Rachel McIntosh-Kastrinsky, have played a central role in creating and shepherding the plan through the approval process. The resolution goes to the full commission on Nov. 13 for a final vote.
Clean Air Carolina Applauds these Responsible Government Actions
Each of these plans helps to move North Carolina further towards a clean air and clean energy future. Clean Air Carolina applauds the efforts of state officials, city and county council members and the many stakeholders who have helped create these positive initiatives. Ambitious plans can be imposing with distant due dates and grand ideas, but these steps are necessary for building the cleaner and more sustainable future that we know is possible.
As our state works to recover from two 500 year floods in the past two years caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, it’s critical state and local leaders take the necessary actions to protect North Carolinians from future disasters. We look forward to working with government officials across the state in the implementation of policies and practices so we can collectively reach these critical goals.