On Oct. 29, 2018, Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law Executive Order No. 80 (EO 80), “North Carolina’s Commitment to Address Climate Change and Transition to a Clean Energy Economy.” EO 80 calls to reduce greenhouse gas emission to 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
In response to EO 80, the N.C. Department of Transportation has started formulating strategies that seek to reduce emissions from the transportation sector to adapt to a changing environment. These strategies include the North Carolina Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Plan and the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding. In addition, the department has worked with stakeholders to prepare a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Reduction Study and other transportation emission reduction strategies.
NCDOT is also leveraging its existing long-range planning efforts, such as NC Moves 2050, to identify short-term, near-term and longer-term initiatives that promote and facilitate the reduction of carbon emissions across all the agency’s modes of transportation.
In January 2022, Gov. Cooper signed Executive Order 246 (EO 246), “North Carolina’s Transformation to a Clean, Equitable Economy.” EO 246 builds upon EO 80 and calls for a 50 percent reduction in economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It also sets a transportation-specific goal to increase the total number of registered zero-emission vehicles to at least 1,250,000 by 2030 and increase the sale of zero-emission vehicles so that 50 percent of all in-state vehicle sales are zero-emission by 2030. EO 246 also directs NCDOT to develop a Clean Transportation Plan.
NCDOT recognizes global climate change brings increased risk of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and flooding. The occurrence of more severe weather poses a significant challenge to NCDOT’s mission of connecting people, products, and places safely and efficiently.
Extreme weather potentially threatens the state’s transportation infrastructure, from the mountains to the coast. That is why the department is constantly working on its ability to anticipate and prepare for extreme events. NCDOT continues to be resilient in the face of violent weather, responding to any disruptions and rapidly recovering from them.
Much of the department’s work has been focused on assessing vulnerabilities exposed by recent weather events and then considering the best strategies for responding and for adopting new highway designs that improve the state’s transportation network.