Statement: Governors deliver one-two punch to climate change

Media Statements

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

CA Gov. Newsom to phase out gasoline powered cars and MI Gov. Whitmer sets course for Michigan to reach net zero emissions by 2050


SACRAMENTO, Calif. And LANSING, Mich. — Governors of two of the nation’s 10 most populous states took strong actions Wednesday to thwart climate change. 

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring that by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks in the state be zero-emission vehicles. This represents the United States’ most ambitious vehicle electrification policy and will go a long way toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the country’s largest source: transportation. Gov. Newsom also called on the legislature to end new fracking permits in the state by 2024. 

Meanwhile, in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer committed her state to a timeline to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. With this announcement, Michigan becomes the first state in the Midwest to pledge to carbon neutrality by mid-century, building on a plan made last year to reduce emissions in the Great Lakes State. Gov. Whitmer’s plan locks in goals of 28 percent emission reductions below 2005 levels by 2025 and net zero by 2050 through a combination of actions by the state government and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. 

In response, U.S. PIRG and Environment America issued the following statement:

“The American West is on fire, midwestern communities face increasingly intense flooding, and hurricanes are hammering southern states. Climate change is not a hypothetical future problem — it’s here now,” said Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG’s Environment Campaigns director. “With these announcements, Governors Whitmer and Newsom are charting paths for Michigan, California and the rest of the country to prepare for the future. Governor Whitmer joins a growing number of other state leaders including Governor Newsom, who recognize the urgency of climate change and are leading the charge to reduce the emissions that are dangerously warming our planet. Governor Whitmer’s net zero climate goal and Governor Newsom’s bold action on transportation and climate should inspire other governors and legislators in the Midwest and across the country to join the movement and act.”

“As Michigan’s leaders develop their climate action plans, clean and renewable energy sources — such as solar, wind, and efficiency and conservation measures — should be front and center,” said Johanna Neumann, Environment America’s Senior Director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy. “Renewable energy is abundant, emission-free and never runs out. As the adoption of clean energy technologies has skyrocketed over the past decade, costs have plummeted, making clean energy commitments and investments go-to policy for a state such as Michigan that’s trying to reduce its carbon footprint. California already has one of the nation’s strongest renewable energy commitments, which has become a template for states such as Michigan to emulate. As the state moves forward with its electric vehicle commitment, it should also accelerate the timeline for the transition to renewable energy.”

staff | TPIN

This Earth Day, put our planet over plastic

We are working to move our country beyond plastic — and we need your help. Will you make a gift in honor of Earth Day to help us keep making progress?