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Gov. Cooper signs clean energy order at North Carolina A&T

Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) signed an executive order he hopes will help reduce the state's environmental footprint.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) signed an executive order Friday calling for the state to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Cooper signed the order at North Carolina A&T University. He said North Carolina A&T graduates more Black engineers than any other Historically Black College and university in the country.

"Transforming North Carolina toward a clean energy and more equitable economy will provide good jobs and a healthy environment for generations of families across our state," Cooper said. "To achieve our goals we must be clear, intentional and determined.” 

The order also calls for the state to reduce emission levels to 50% below 2005 and increase zero-emission vehicle production to 1.25 million by 2030.

It directs cabinet agencies to consider environmental justice whenever taking action related to climate change.

“The environmental justice provisions that are included in the executive order go a long way toward ensuring that the state can achieve the exemplary public health equity goals. I am pleased it will increase the likelihood that all North Carolinians are able to live in vibrant communities and pursue employment in workplaces free of environmental risks,” Dr. James H. Johnson, Jr., DEQ Secretary’s Environmental Justice and Equity Board Chair said. 

The state climate council will develop a strategy to attract a more diverse clean energy workforce. Gov. Cooper has signed other executive orders in the past aimed at reducing the state's environmental footprint.

“This executive order is the next step in North Carolina's continued commitment to a clean and more equitable energy future," Dionne Delli-Gatti, North Carolina Clean Energy Director said. "Our state must continue to lead in the fight against climate change and environmental injustice while building an economy that works for everyone and the steps outlined in this order are critical to achieving those goals.”