North Carolina Executive Order No. 246: North Carolina’s Transformation to a Clean, Equitable Economy

On January 7, 2022, North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order (EO) No. 246 entitled, "North Carolina’s Transformation to a Clean, Equitable Economy." EO 246 calls for the state to take several actions related to climate change to improve the health and well-being of North Carolina's residents, prioritize and advance environmental justice and equity, engage with stakeholders and incorporate public input into decisionmaking processes, increase awareness about the health impacts of climate change including the disproportionate effects on underserved communities, and build a diverse workforce that is prepared to address climate change. 

About half of EO 246 addresses adaptation and resilience and requires integrating climate and equity into government-wide actions when implementing EO 80 and the state's 2020 Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan. The EO places an emphasis on climate and health equity. The state acknowledges that “increasing resilience to climate change strengthens and diversifies North Carolina's economy through job growth, consumer savings, technology development, increased economic activity, improved public health, and reduced climate change impacts.” 

EO 246 includes the following provisions related to climate adaptation and resilience: 

  • Environmental Justice and Equity: The state is required to incorporate environmental justice and equity considerations when implementing EO 246, EO 80, and EO 218
  • Environmental Justice Lead: Cabinet agencies are required to identify an environmental justice and equity lead who is the agency’s point person to support these efforts. 
  • Agency Public Participation Plans: Cabinet agencies are required to develop an agency public participation plan, which is informed by stakeholder input. The plans must be aimed at improving communication, developing relationships, and enhancing transparency with the public, which includes underserved communities and communities with limited English proficiency. 
  • Community Input on Environmental Justice: The state must “seek public input on additional executive action to advance environmental justice, equity, and affordability priorities of North Carolinians that live in, work in, or represent low- and moderate income communities, indigenous communities, and communities of color.” 
  • Distribution of Federal and State Funds: State agencies are required to prioritize investing relevant sources of federal and state funding in actions that “promote resiliency, invest in historically underserved communities, increase affordability for low- and moderate-income households, advance health equity, and create jobs and economic growth through a clean North Carolina economy.” The agencies must also alert residents and businesses about potential opportunities for federal and state grants with emphasis on reaching underserved communities. 
  • Public Health and Health Equity: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is required to increase public awareness of the health impacts of climate change.
  • Workforce Diversity: The N.C. Climate Change Interagency Council is required to create a work group that will develop strategies that increase workforce diversity in industries that are needed to address climate change impacts.

EO No. 246 also contains several mitigation commitments, including that the state will: 

  • Reduce the state’s greenhouse gas “emissions to at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions as soon as possible, no later than 2050;” 
  • Increase the number of registered zero-emission vehicles “to at least 1,250,000 by 2030 and increase the sale of ZEVs [zero emission vehicles] so that 50 percent of in-state sales of new vehicles are zero-emission by 2030;”
  • Release an updated North Carolina Greenhouse Gas Inventory that calculates current statewide emissions and projects future emissions;
  • Conduct a North Carolina Deep Decarbonization Pathways Analysis, which will analyze ways to reduce emissions to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050;
  • Create a North Carolina Clean Transportation Plan for the Climate Council, which among other things, includes actionable strategies for decarbonizing the transportation sector; and 
  • Establish a clean energy youth apprenticeship program, with a focus on underrepresented communities, that prepares graduates for careers in the state’s clean energy economy.

Publication Date: January 7, 2022

Related Organizations:

  • State of North Carolina

Related Resources:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Executive order

States Affected:


  • Socioeconomic

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