Michigan voters want to see more climate action this legislative session

Photo Credit: Steven Kriemadis

This November, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer won her bid for reelection and for the first time in 40 years, Democrats gained a majority in the state house and senate.

With this historic win comes historic opportunity. In the legislative session that started last week, Michigan has the chance to follow through on the climate goals set during Gov Whitmer’s first term with strong policies capable of ensuring a safer climate and healthier communities for decades to come. Recent polling commissioned by EDF Action underscores that voters are ready for state leaders to meet this moment by stepping up action on climate and clean energy.

Taking next steps on Michigan’s Healthy Climate Plan

Earlier this year, Michigan released the final version of their Healthy Climate Plan. This plan is an important next step in turning the governor’s climate commitments into action. While the plan includes many notable policies like a renewable portfolio standard, electric vehicle goals, and more, it still needs to go further to target the main culprit driving climate change: climate pollution. Previous EDF analysis found that after decades of stalled policies at the legislature, Michigan is off-track for meeting its 2030 goal, highlighting the importance of putting in place additional policies that firmly limit climate pollution and simultaneously deliver air quality and other key benefits to communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color.

As the Whitmer administration and legislators look ahead at priorities for the next legislative session, recent polling by Global Strategy Group shows a clear appetite for follow-through on the state’s climate plan. According to the poll, 64% of voters support regulations to reduce the carbon emissions that cause climate change and 61% would support placing a limit on total carbon emissions across Michigan’s entire economy that achieves a 50% reduction by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. When considering what Michigan’s policymakers should do, 65% of voters agree that they need to do more to support the transition to clean energy.

Importantly, voters see climate action and clean energy as important components of a strong and growing Michigan economy, and strong majorities of voters agree on the importance of equity and justice in the shift toward a clean energy economy. 64% of voters agree that more clean energy like wind and solar would strengthen Michigan’s economy and save families money. 79% of Michigan voters believe that as we transition to clean energy, it is important to protect communities most impacted by harmful air pollution, and 69% of voters support prioritizing clean energy investments in those communities.

Harnessing momentum from new federal investments

With new federal investments for climate and clean energy technologies from the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure law, strong voter support, the reelection of Governor Whitmer, and new majorities in the Michigan legislature, the state has a golden opportunity to raise its climate ambition right now. Incentives for clean energy and electric vehicles, trucks and buses, for example, make the transition to a clean economy cheaper than ever before.

Now is the time for Governor Whitmer and legislators to build on progress over the past several years and take action to adopt new policies capable of limiting climate pollution, leveraging these transformative federal investments into concrete reductions that meet the state’s climate goals. In doing so, they can ensure a safer climate for future generations of Michiganders, create good-paying jobs while lowering costs for Michigan families, and drive essential benefits to communities that continue to bear the greatest burden of unsafe air and water – all of which voters are eager to see.

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