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Cooper signs order to combat climate change, commits to clean energy economy for NC

With historic storms lashing the state, Governor Roy Cooper says North Carolina must do more combat climate change and take steps that will lessen the impact of future natural disasters.

Cooper took the first step Monday in signing an executive order that calls on the State of North Carolina to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels by 2025. The administration  will also take steps to support clean energy businesses moving forward.

Additionally the governor’s order also directs the following actions:

  • The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will develop a North Carolina Clean Energy Plan to encourage the use of clean energy, including wind, solar, energy efficiency, and energy storage.
  • The North Carolina Department of Transportation will develop a plan to accelerate the use of zero-emission vehicles across state government. Cabinet agencies will prioritize the use of ZEVs for trips that can reasonably be made with a ZEV.
  • DEQ will help cabinet agencies improve their energy efficiency and publicly report utility consumption.
  • The North Carolina Department of Commerce will support the expansion of clean energy businesses and service providers, clean technology investment, and companies with a commitment to procuring renewable energy.

All cabinet agencies will integrate climate mitigation and resiliency planning into their policies, programs and operations.

Monday’s announcement received quick praise from the environmental community:

“While the Trump administration denies and withdraws, North Carolina has joined many other states and the rest of the world in taking on the crisis of climate change,” said Derb Carter, director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s North Carolina offices. “We commend Governor Cooper for his leadership in confronting the biggest environmental challenge we face. Moving swiftly to clean sources of energy, smarter transportation and development, and enhanced natural defenses will build a stronger and more resilient North Carolina while growing our economy.”

“Governor Cooper’s executive order further advances North Carolina’s reputation as a clean energy leader. We look forward to working with him – and with our local leaders, businesses and farmers – to accelerate progress toward these goals.”  – Hawley Truax, EDF Southeast Regional Director

The solar farm at Cary’s SAS Institute served as the backdrop for today’s announcement.

Learn more by reading the full executive order below:

EO80- NC’s Commitment to Address Climate Change & Transition to a Clean Energy Economy

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