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North Carolina Needed an Emissions Reduction Plan. They Asked a Utility Company to Create It.

Climate Justice Climate Energy Environmental Justice North Carolina

Today, the Center for Progressive Reform is publishing a new policy brief. Missing the Mark: How North Carolina’s Decarbonization Efforts Fall Short and How to Fix Them examines the pitfalls of North Carolina’s decarbonization plan (known as the Carbon Plan and developed by Duke Energy) and alternative models to address those shortcomings.

North Carolina’s Carbon Plan process fails to meaningfully engage environmental justice communities and continues to proliferate polluting fossil fuel build-out. In turn, this disproportionately harms the same communities who are not included in decision-making.

The process can be significantly improved to ensure marginalized communities are not shut out and that climate goals are met on a timeline that recognizes the urgency of the crisis, not just globally but locally. Successful decarbonization plans in other states share many features. Drawing from Hawaii and California specifically, our brief highlights how meaningful stakeholder engagement and a higher proportion of renewable energy can meet the demands of the state’s climate goals.

What do we, our partners, and our allies specifically want to see in North Carolina’s Carbon Plan?

  • To start, we’re calling for a ban on all future construction of methane or natural gas power plants, which we know contribute to respiratory problems like asthma, especially in the Black, rural, and low-wealth communities where they are usually built.
  • In their place, we want more investment in things like rooftop and community solar, offshore wind, or geothermal infrastructure that would bring good jobs to our communities without damaging our families, our neighbors, or our environment.
  • Just as importantly, we want real North Carolinians to have a say in the clean energy policies that affect them.
  • We want meaningful, enforceable commitments from the state government to expand public participation in hearings as much as possible, specifically by holding in-person, virtual, and hybrid hearings at multiple hours of the day and during multiple days of the week, including evenings and weekends.
  • And regulators can’t be satisfied by merely soliciting input — they must commit to incorporating the recommendations of community members who show up to make their voices heard, especially when those members are from the Black, Brown, rural, and low-wealth communities who are historically the most impacted and the most ignored.

Read the policy brief, and if you live in North Carolina, talk to your neighbors and your elected officials about the energy future you’d like to see. You can help spread the word about this brief by liking and sharing on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Climate Justice Climate Energy Environmental Justice North Carolina

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