The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is a department of Michigan state for environmental issues. The EGLE responds to reports of pollution and enforces laws and permit conditions that protect public health. The EGLE is also licensed to perform inspections in certain facilities to ensure that they are compliant with various environmental regulations.

Interviewing Liesl Clark of Michigan

In the first week of May 2021, Ken Haddad, Digital Content Manager and newsletter writer for interviewed Liesl Clark, director of the EGLE and the chair of the Michigan Climate Council. The conversation focused on Michigan’s plan to become carbon neutral and limit total greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2016, Michigan ranked as one of the top 10 states in America for total emissions.

Naturally, Ken Haddad asked about Michigan’s goals for emissions and how they aligned with reaching a net-zero future. Liesl Clark, in response, said that Michigan’s goals for greenhouse gas emissions centered around improving conditions for human safety, and also the desire to capitalize on America’s transforming energy economy. The Executive Directive 2020-10 sets the goal of decarbonization in Michigan by 2050, and a 28% reduction below 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Clark goes on to mention that these goals are among the top priorities for the state and that they’re based on suggestions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Why The Need for Climate Change Action in Michigan

Haddad asks Liesl Clark what she thinks the biggest threat is posed by climate change. In response, Clark states that the Midwest is experiencing increased dramatic weather patterns, such as floods, heavy downpours, and extreme heat (the Director and chairwoman also references the degradation of water and air quality).

Haddad chose to end part one of this interview with a question about Michigan’s economic future: “How can Michigan use the battle against climate change as an economic driver?”.

Clark believes that “a key area of economic opportunity for Michigan is in transportation.” This is because the transportation sector in Michigan is responsible for 29% of total emissions. Therefore, mobility will be a determining factor in Michigan’s path toward an eco-friendly future. The EGLE works closely with the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. Presumably, this partnership will support innovations and job growth that have sustainability in mind.

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