In an executive order signed Friday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper set a goal for the state to reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
The order Cooper signed on the North Carolina A&T State University campus sets statewide targets regarding greenhouse gas reductions that include an earlier 2030 deadline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent.
“This is an important day for our state,” Cooper said during a news conference. “I am excited to see new green energy jobs. … I agree that there is much more to do, but I believe this will help establish a framework for all of us to succeed. It’s important to do.”
Cooper’s order aims to build on environmental successes made in the state legislature during his time as governor, including legislation that prohibits power plant pollution over the next thirty years, a clean sweep signed by Cooper in 2018. The energy was related to the order and the plan partly formed. External groups and advocates.
That 2018 Clean Energy Order established a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025.
Under the new order, the state’s transportation department is mandated to create a “clean transportation plan” to reduce carbon emissions by reducing miles traveled on roads, increasing the number of emission-free vehicles, and other initiatives. The department has until spring 2023 to complete the plan.
While the 2018 order seeks to have at least 80,000 registered electric and other zero-emissions vehicles by 2025, the latest order seeks 1.25 million such vehicles registered by 2030. The sharp increase in this target coincides with an effort by automakers to move away from the interior. combustion engine.
Cooper’s announcement also comes a month after Toyota announced it would build its first North American battery plant for electric vehicles in the state’s Randolph County, with the goal of creating more than 3,800 jobs.
Friday’s order also directs the governor’s cabinet agencies to consider environmental justice challenges when making decisions related to climate change, such as how the decisions will affect minority residents and the poor, and to examine the “social cost” of emissions. for. Each agency will also assign environmental justice responsibilities to someone.
“I am delighted that it will increase the likelihood that all North Carolinians are able to live in vibrant communities and pursue employment in workplaces free from environmental risks,” said James Johnson, chairman of the Department of Environmental Justice and Equity Board of Environmental Quality. a news release.
A state law signed by Cooper in October directs state power plants to reduce carbon dioxide production by 70% from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve zero-net CO2 emissions by 2050. The coal-fired power plant operated by Duke Energy, the state’s leading utility, is expected to be retired early as a result.
Several environmental groups, including some indifferent to the power plant law because they felt it was not strong enough, lined up Friday to praise the governor’s latest order, particularly on environmental justice actions.
“The order is an important sign that North Carolina is turning its attention to addressing climate change and creating a more equitable clean energy future,” said David Kelly, North Carolina state director of the Environmental Defense Fund.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.