Advance Notice: Briefs

3 Mich. lawmakers sign onto national letter asking Biden to commit to zero emissions by 2050

By: - November 3, 2021 10:02 am

A flag flies at the Southeast Iowa Renewable Energy ethanol facility on June 11, 2019 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Three Michigan Democratic lawmakers have joined a letter urging President Joe Biden to “strengthen the federal government’s climate commitments under the Paris Agreement” at the Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) taking place in Glasgow.

“As the largest historical contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, the United States has both a moral and practical responsibility to achieve net-zero emissions by or before 2050,” lawmakers wrote on Monday.

The letter was signed by more than 500 legislators in 47 states. The Michigan lawmakers are: Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy), Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) and Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak).

Lawmakers note that nearly two-thirds of U.S. states and territories have some form of Renewable Portfolio Standard or Clean Energy Standard, including Michigan, and more than a dozen have committed to 100% clean energy, with implementation dates ranging from 2030 to 2050.

Shortly after taking office in 2019, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined 19 governors that make up the U.S. Climate Alliance, whose members have voluntarily agreed to cut their state’s greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with the 2016 Paris Climate Accords. Former President Donald Trump pulled the United States from the agreement in 2017, but Biden rejoined it after being sworn in back in January.

Last year, Whitmer committed to Michigan being carbon-neutral by 2050. And in April, she announced that state-owned facilities will use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The GOP-controlled Michigan Legislature has not taken action to fight climate change.

“States rely on the federal government to provide a strong baseline policy. States that struggle to address climate change legislatively look to the federal government to set strong emissions and air quality standards,” the lawmakers wrote. “Binding federal commitments to phase out fossil fuel usage and accelerate the transition to renewable energy are overdue.”

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.