Last month, Governor Whitmer and Michigan’s Council on Climate Solutions announced the release of the final MI Healthy Climate Plan, which sets the state on a strong path towards reducing emissions to benefiting Michigan’s economy and protect birds.
Our climate science tells us the secretive Sedge Wren could lose about half of its breeding range, which includes the entire state of Michigan, unless we act. Fortunately, there’s still time to take action to protect the majority of birds at-risk from climate change.
More than 900 Audubon members took action during a public comment period to express appreciation to Gov. Whitmer and her administration for taking climate action, and to urge the plan to be further strengthened to better protect Michigan’s birds and people. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy took notice, and the final plan contains important improvements to help ensure Michigan reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Some improvements include in the MI Healthy Climate Plan include a call for the state to generate 60 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources, cut 28 percent of the state’s emissions by 2025, and retire coal-fired power plants in the state by 2030. In addition, it explicitly addresses climate equity concerns, calling for at least 40 percent of any state funding that will be used for climate and water-related infrastructure to go to BIPOC and disadvantaged communities.
Audubon and members called on the plan to ensure large-scale wind and solar projects on state lands are responsibly sited to protect birds. The final MI Healthy Climate Plan now recommends implementing a plan for siting solar farms on state-owned lands. Audubon will continue to work with the state of Michigan and renewable energy developers to help ensure renewable energy projects are properly sited to avoid, minimize, and mitigate negative impacts on birds and other wildlife.
While encouraging, the final plan is only the start of the long road towards Michigan reaching net-zero carbon emissions economy-wide by 2050. The implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan will require state agencies are properly staffed and resourced. Audubon will continue to work with our partners in the state to ensure the proper resources are available to implement this important plan in order to protect birds and the places they need throughout Michigan.