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Energy & Environment

Michigan Dem Senator Backs Green New Deal Goal of Net-Zero Emissions by 2050: ‘I Believe We Can Do That’

Senator Gary Peters (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

Senator Gary Peters (D., Mich.) voiced his support for the “Green New Deal” goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 in an interview that aired Sunday.

Peters, along with 43 other Democratic senators, voted “present” when the non-binding Green New Deal resolution was brought to the floor for a vote in March. The resolution, drafted by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Senator Ed Markey (D., Mass.), aimed to eliminate the fossil fuel industry within ten years while providing new forms of employment for all current industry workers.

The deal also promised to “ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.”

Host Chuck Stokes asked Peters about the timeline for transitioning the economy to net-zero carbon emissions during an interview on ABC’s Michigan affiliate that aired Sunday.

“Do you want zero-net emissions by 2050 and do you think that’s possible?,” Stokes asked the senator.

“We have to push the technology as aggressively as we can, but I believe that we can do that,” Peters replied. “We should look at this as an economic opportunity to drive our economy while also doing the right thing for the environment.”

The Senator’s office did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Peters is currently in the midst of a reelection campaign against Republican challenger John James. Polls show the two candidates locked in a virtual tie.

Michigan is the capital of the U.S. auto industry and a major swing state where President Trump emerged victorious in the 2016 elections. Peters has generally declined to say whether he supports the Green New Deal in its entirety, and he also has avoided questions regarding his support for Medicare for All proposals.

“Sen. Gary Peters is a 30-year career politician solely focused on retaining his personal political power in Washington,” said Ted Goodman, spokesman for the conservative advocacy group Better Future Michigan. “This is why he supports Medicare-for-All and the radical proposals of the Green New Deal—while it’s bad policy for Michiganders, he thinks its good policy for his own ambitions to endear himself to the new radical left in charge of his party.”

Peters announced in April that he backed certain aspects of the deal but did not elaborate beyond endorsing one specific detail of the much broader plan.

“There’s no question we’re going to need to make a massive effort to deal with this issue [climate change], and there are many aspects of the Green New Deal I support, particularly when it comes to retrofitting buildings,” Peters said at the time.

“Michigan voters will remember that when given a chance to reject the job-killing Green New Deal, Peters was silent — standing with his party’s most radical members,” said the National Republican Senatorial Committee in a response to Peters’s statement.

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