SEAS Members to Advise Michigan Healthy Climate Plan
A panel of climate and environmental justice experts—including SEAS Professor Tony Reames and alumnus John Petoskey (MS/JD '20)—was named today to develop a justice and equity-based framework for the development and implementation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, which calls for a transition to a carbon-neutral Michigan by 2050 that includes communities disproportionately affected by climate change.
The five-member Climate Justice Brain Trust will help guide the Office of Climate and Energy’s work in identifying barriers that impede environmental justice communities from realizing the benefits of the energy sector’s transition to cleaner energy sources. It will provide guidance on appropriate climate adaptation, mitigation, and clean energy investments from a climate justice perspective.
"The impacts of climate change are being felt all across Michigan and we need to be aggressive in planning for a future that will look a lot different than today," said Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, which includes the Office of Climate and Energy. "That's why the work of the Climate Justice Brain Trust is so important. By developing guidance that centers on equity, the Brain Trust will help incorporate all Michiganders, including communities in transition, in the path forward."
The volunteer members of the panel are:
- Theresa Landrum of Detroit is a community activist with the 48217 Community Monitoring Group.
- Bryan Lewis of Detroit is the executive director of EcoWorks.
- Justin Onwenu of Detroit is the health communities and environmental justice organizer at the Sierra Club.
- John Petoskey of Northport is an associate attorney at Environmental Law & Policy Center and a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
- Tony Reames of Farmington Hills is an assistant professor of environmental justice at SEAS.
"The concepts of equity and justice are critical to how we as a state move forward to address climate change," said Regina Strong, the state's Environmental Justice Public Advocate. "By setting a framework for what an equitable carbon neutral future should look like in Michigan, the experts on the Brain Trust ensure a diversity of voices and experiences as we develop the MI Healthy Climate Plan."
The Climate Justice Brain Trust will identify:
- Challenges, barriers, and needs of climate justice communities.
- Vision and guidance to achieve an equitable and just carbon-neutral Michigan.
- Key policy areas to address climate justice issues.
"We look forward to incorporating the expertise of the Climate Justice Brain Trust into the MI Healthy Climate Plan to ensure that climate solutions are equitable for all Michiganders," said Dr. Brandy Brown, Climate and Energy Advisor.
The Climate Justice Brain Trust and the Office of Climate and Energy will work jointly with the Office of the Environmental Justice Public Advocate to identify ways to integrate environmental justice efforts into ongoing climate work.
The Climate Justice Brain Trust will serve as an advisory resource on issues of climate justice for the members of the Michigan Council on Climate Solutions. The Council will advise the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy in identifying and recommending opportunities for the development and effective implementation of emissions-reduction strategies as part of the MI Healthy Climate Plan.