Today, Governor Roy Cooper released the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Analysis (“Pathways Analysis”) to ensure North Carolina continues to progress towards its climate goals while expanding our clean energy economy that benefits all. As outlined and called for in Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 246, the Pathways Analysis identifies the most promising opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the economy in the near-term while highlighting mid- and long-term needs to develop and commercialize emerging clean energy technologies.
“In North Carolina, fighting climate change and strengthening our economy goes hand in hand,” said Governor Cooper. “In the past year, we’ve celebrated some of the largest economic development announcements in state history from companies that focus on clean energy and share our environmental priorities. This analysis will help us achieve pollution reduction while highlighting new market opportunities to ensure North Carolina remains on the forefront of the clean energy transition.”
While North Carolina has significantly reduced GHG emissions, even as the state’s population and economy have grown, the Pathways Analysis highlights the need for immediate, ambitious and sustained action across every sector of the economy to achieve the science-based GHG targets established in Executive Order No. 80 and Executive Order No. 246. The analysis modeled illustrative, forward-looking scenarios through 2050 to better understand the biggest opportunities to reduce emissions and sequester carbon while exploring the tradeoffs between different emission-reduction strategies. The final report recommends near-, mid- and long-term actions to reduce emissions and is designed to serve as a resource for local, regional, and statewide planning venues.
The Pathways Analysis was informed by hundreds of stakeholders and subject-matter experts over the past twelve months. The Office of Governor Cooper worked with an Interagency Steering Committee of Cabinet Agency representatives and consulting firm Energy and Environmental Economics to complete the analysis. The State convened a Technical Advisory Group of experts from academia, the private sector, and public interest organizations to inform the modeling approach and data inputs. Throughout the course of the project, State officials also engaged several targeted stakeholder groups and hosted three public information sessions to solicit feedback from North Carolinians across the state.
The Pathways Analysis builds on the Governor’s previous actions supporting clean energy, climate change, and environmental justice. Governor Cooper called for the development of the Pathways Analysis in Executive Order No. 246, which updated the state’s clean energy and pollution reduction goals and directed numerous actions to achieve those goals in a manner that centers environmental justice and maximizes health and economic benefits for all North Carolinians. In October of 2022, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 271 to position North Carolina to benefit from the global market transition to zero-emission vans, buses, and trucks by ensuring that new vehicle technologies will be available to businesses across the state and directing state agencies to pursue strategies and investments that will support the affordable, equitable and reliable growth of the zero-emission vehicle market. In 2021, the Governor signed House Bill 951, a bipartisan law requiring the North Carolina Utilities Commission to take the necessary steps for state utility providers to reduce carbon emissions 70% from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Read the Pathways Analysis.