North Carolina Movies Sustainability Plans Forward

North Carolina Moves Sustainability Plans Forward

North Carolina’s climate plan, launched over the course of the past few years, could be a model for making progress on sustainability in a "divided” government, The News & Observer reports. After 2018’s Hurricane Florence, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 80, which set goals to reduce emissions and transition to a clean energy economy. It also provided a structure for the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to strategize and effectively achieve the goals laid out in the order. A year later, these targets became House Bill 951, which includes a Clean Energy Plan aimed to reduce emissions by 70% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Why This Matters

Though the latest IPCC report calls for immediate action, North Carolina -- traditionally a "battleground” state -- shows how a slower approach can at times pay off.

"Climate scientists would tell us that the faster we can move, the better off we are,” Governor Cooper told The News & Observer. “But particularly in a state like North Carolina with divided government, it’s important to set goals and work to achieve as much consensus as you can.”

CBS: Huge carbon emissions cuts needed, UN climate report finds, April 4, 2022.

Setting Climate Goals

North Carolina was able to move forward through a combination of executive orders and legislation. Those drafting the legislation for House Bill 951 aren’t likely to have referred back to Cooper’s initial executive order, but that initial draft certainly helped achieve the end result. "These executive orders oftentimes do put a stake in the ground, or they’re a negotiating tactic that can lead to actionable legislation. North Carolina is a case study for that,” stated Doug Vine, the director of energy analysis at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. According to House Bill 951, the state’s Utilities Commission will need to approve a roadmap for legislatively mandated carbon reductions by the end of 2022.

In January, Cooper signed another executive order that set a goal to have registered 1.25 million electric vehicles in North Carolina by 2030.

Reuters: 2021 saw jump in greenhouse-gas emissions, says report, January 10, 2022.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Electric Vehicles - The Promise for Health and Equity, September 14, 2021.