Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Will Michigan Voters Decide to Strengthen Commitment to a Sustainable Economy and Renewable Energy Future?

Energy

Union of Concerned Scientists

Michigan voters will decide this fall if the states commitment to renewable energy will be strengthened.

Michigan is positioned to become a leader in clean energy technology, securing cleaner air, a stronger economic future and new jobs for the state, experts speaking at an event hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) on the Michigan State University campus said on Aug. 7.

The panel of energy, economic and technology experts agreed that initiatives such as a renewable energy measure on the state ballot this fall could jump-start Michigan’s clean energy sector.

The ballot measure would require 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass by 2025. Michigan’s current standard, which requires utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015, has already spurred at least $100 million in investments in the state, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission.

“When it comes to energy, the status quo is not an option,” said Arnold Boezaart, director of the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. “In a rapidly changing global environment, new and emerging technologies are forever changing the way we produce and use energy. Making a commitment to develop a more comprehensive U.S. energy portfolio, including renewable energy, is a forward-looking choice.”

The BlueGreen Alliance—a nationwide partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations—co-hosted the event. Mark Schauer, national co-chair of BlueGreen Alliance's Jobs21! Campaign, said Michigan is already benefiting from clean technology initiatives, especially federal fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for new cars and light trucks. For instance, a recent report by the BlueGreen Alliance found that the new standards, which the Obama administration will likely finalize this month, could bring an estimated 570,000 full-time equivalent jobs throughout the U.S., including 50,000 in light-duty vehicle manufacturing, by the year 2030.

“Clean energy is on a roll in Michigan and we need to continue that momentum,” said Schauer. “The report affirms that the largest increase in auto fuel efficiency standards in a generation will yield significant rewards in job creation and environmental benefits. Looking ahead, we need to double down on clean energy technology across the board.”

The benefits of the new standards will extend far beyond creating new jobs. A UCS-Natural Resources Defense Council analysis concluded that the new standards could save Michigan drivers $1.1 billion in 2030, even after paying the additional cost of the cleaner technology. Nationally, the standards could cut oil consumption nearly 1.5 million barrels per day in 2030 and reduce heat-trapping carbon pollution by as much as 270 million metric tons—equivalent to taking 40 million of today’s typical cars and light trucks off the road for a year.

Jim Kliesch, research director for UCS’s Clean Vehicles program, said steps like the new vehicle standards can help lower the country’s long-term oil use. Kliesch noted that if the country did nothing to reduce oil use, it would consume 22 million barrels of oil every day by 2035 across the entire economy; but if the nation invests in its workers, good policy and American know-how, the U.S. could cut that number in half.

Steps like the new fuel efficiency standards are included in UCS’s Half the Oil Plan, which offers a practical plan to dramatically reduce U.S. oil consumption, save consumers billions of dollars and position the U.S. as a global leader in transportation technology.

Kliesch said that Michigan will already benefit from the new efficiency standards, but can further capitalize on clean energy through other elements of the Half the Oil Plan, including electric vehicle technology, industrial energy efficiency and cleaner commercial vehicles.

“These innovative developments can help the United States lower its oil consumption, and Michigan is in the ideal position to deliver,” Kliesch told the panel. “By tapping deeper into existing efficiency technology and promoting innovative solutions here in Michigan and the rest of the country—driven by a skilled and determined workforce—our nation can cut its projected oil use in half within 20 years.”

Visit EcoWatch's RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pangolin hunting for ants. 2630ben / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Alexander Richard Braczkowski, Christopher O'Bryan, Duan Biggs, and Raymond Jansen

Pangolins are one of the most illegally trafficked animals on the planet and are suspected to be linked to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Humpback whale splashing in the North West Atlantic Ocean, Massachusetts. Tim Graham / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a healthy way to incorporate vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants into your diet.

Read More Show Less
These 19 organizations and individuals represent a small portion of the efforts underway to fight racism and inequality and to build stronger Black communities and food systems. rez-art / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg

Following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, people around the United States are protesting racism, police brutality, inequality, and violence in their own communities. No matter your political affiliation, the violence by multiple police departments in this country is unacceptable.

Read More Show Less
Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less