Last Tuesday, July 16th, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held a public meeting of the Climate Change Interagency Council, which provided updates on the council’s progress toward the goals of Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 80.
For those who are unfamiliar, EO 80 outlines state goals for addressing climate change and transitioning to a clean energy economy. Under the order, North Carolina should by 2025:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels
- increase registered zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road to 80,000
- reduce state-owned buildings’ energy consumption by 40% from fiscal year 2002-2003 levels.
EO 80 also created the council, composed of the governor’s cabinet heads. They meet periodically to plan the execution of these goals. Last week’s meeting provided an update on the most current climate science, specifically focused on progress with the North Carolina Clean Energy Plan and on transportation, public safety, disaster recovery, and resilience.
While the meeting’s general response was positive on the whole, a number of individuals voiced concerns during the public comment period. Many highlighted the urgency of the climate crisis in North Carolina, and wanted more rapid, robust, and inclusive action. We are inclined to agree; as North Carolinians continue to face growing environmental challenges, there must be a concerted effort to push for a just transition involving all communities.
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