Landscape view of a elk grazing a field in North Carolina with a forest full of trees covering a mountain-like bluff in the background

North Carolina’s Commitment to Net-Zero Emissions

North Carolina is committing to clean energy and sustainability with several executive orders geared toward achieving net-zero emissions.

In keeping with several other states, North Carolina is showing a clear commitment to clean energy, sustainability and equitable income. 

In early 2022, Governor Roy Cooper signed several executive orders (EOs) geared toward making the state more environmentally friendly. These included EO 246, which set goals for achieving net-zero emissions in North Carolina over the coming decades.

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North Carolina Net-Zero Emissions and EO 246

Per EO 246, North Carolina’s net-zero emissions goals include the following:

  • By 2030, reducing North Carolina’s greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum of 50% below the levels from 2005
  • Reaching net-zero emissions as soon as possible — but before 2050 at the latest
  • By 2030, increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to at least 1.25 million
  • Ensuring at least 50% of all new vehicle sales are ZEVs by 2023

The EO also includes recommendations for organizations to consider environmental measures. In addition, it details how departments and businesses should implement, measure and monitor their goals. 

Here are a few examples from the EO:

  • Updated greenhouse gas inventories from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality every two years
  • Analysis of how to achieve net-zero emissions in North Carolina, which the North Carolina Office of the Governor will conduct
  • An official Clean Transportation Plan detailing carbon-reduction strategies, which the North Carolina Department of Transportation and partner agencies will complete
  • Cabinet agencies to have an environmental justice and equity lead who’s responsible for implementing and sharing best practices, promoting sustainable aims and raising awareness
  • A commitment to obtaining community input
  • Education about the health effects associated with climate change, which the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will deliver
  • Establishment of a formal Clean Energy Youth Apprenticeship Program to provide jobs for youths from underrepresented communities and increase the number of people working in the field

[Related: How Going Solar Benefits the Environment and Public Health]

Other Commitments to Clean Energy

Alongside EO 246, Governor Cooper signed other EOs with a focus on environmental affairs. 

Here are their titles and what they entail:

EO 80

It aims to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy consumption and increase the number of ZEVs.

EO 218

EO 218 seeks to develop the state’s clean energy goals using wind power.

[Related: How Many Solar Panels Do You Need for EVs?]

Clean Energy in North Carolina

Overall, North Carolina is striving to rely less on fossil fuels, reduce carbon emissions, provide jobs for residents and reduce the effects of climate change on people from underserved and underprivileged communities.

Since the start of 2022, the state has seen developments in its clean energy aims, including the state’s first electric school bus

Furthermore, North Carolina has some of the best resources for harnessing wind power and is among the leading states in the southeastern U.S. for solar-powered energy use.

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Featured image via Pixabay