Where Whitmer and Dixon stand on climate change

The earth is warming much more quickly than scientists had predicted, according to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published last year. This could lead to permafrost thawing and extreme weather such as floods, wildfires, prolonged droughts, sea level rise, melting ice sheets and the loss of wildlife habitat. The world and the state of Michigan have already started to experience some of these events.

Therefore, the importance of the climate change issue cannot be underestimated in any way.

Despite the fact that climate change was not mentioned in any of Michigan’s campaign talking points, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have proposed a number of initiatives since 2019 that are ultimately intended to minimize the effects of global warming and other forms of environmental degradation. 

Last year, Whitmer released the MI Healthy Climate Plan that aims to make the entire economy carbon neutral by 2050. The objective includes maintaining net negative greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) after 2050 with interim reductions of 28 percent by 2025 and 52 percent by 2030.

“Michigan has been impacted by climate change, from a polar vortex and historic floods to dam breaks and week-long power outages,” Whitmer said back in April 2022. “The MI Healthy Climate Plan identifies actions we can take to address climate change head-on, lower costs for Michiganders, ensure every Michigan worker has a good-paying, sustainable job and every family has clean air, water and a home powered by clean, reliable energy.”

According to Derrell Slaughter, Michigan clean energy advocate at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and secretary of the Council on Climate Solutions, the MI Healthy Climate Plan has the potential to speed up Michigan’s usage of clean energy that will benefit everyone in the long run. 

On the other hand, Republican gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon’s administration did not provide us with clear answers on the MI Healthy Climate Plan and Michigan’s participation in the Paris Climate Accords.

“This is a Whitmer devil whammy,” Dixon said back in Aug. 22, when the Ford Motor Company announced plans to cut up to 3,000 salaried jobs in an effort to develop electric vehicles. “It’s not only the fact that she supports the Green New Deal, but she [also] has no relationship with our largest job creators in the state. They even came out and publicly said we don’t even have a Michigan bid on our electric vehicles business because we don’t believe they’re in the game with us. She supports policies that are driving jobs right out of our state.”

Here is statement from Dixon’s spokesperson about Dixon’s stance on the climate change issue:

“Tudor believes that the climate is changing but does not support kneecapping our economy for Whitmer’s radical Green New Deal,” Sara Broadwater, Dixon’s spokesperson, said. “We know that heavy polluters like China and India aren’t going to change their ways, and even John Kerry admitted that the U.S. could go to net zero emissions tomorrow and it wouldn’t have any impact on worldwide conditions. Our farmers and business owners are inherently inclined to protect our environment and are innovating to find meaningful solutions.”

Neither candidate has specifically discussed their environment policies — we will have to keep an eye on the second debate on OU’s campus on Tuesday, Oct. 25.