News Story

‘Right Now’: Timetable For Group’s ‘Stop Burning Fossil Fuels’ Demand

But 75% of Michigan homes are heated with gas, and renewables produce just 8% of electricity

A far-left environmentalist group is calling for people to walk off their jobs on Sept. 20 and Sept. 27 to demand “climate justice for everyone.”

“This September, millions of us will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels,” the website stated. “Our house is on fire — let’s act like it.”

The call was posted on the website, which lists several locations in Michigan where participants can congregate. These include Traverse City, Manistee, Mount Pleasant, Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Marshall, Auburn Hills, Ann Arbor, Troy, Dearborn and Port Huron.

Other than demonstrations, the most concrete call to action posted on the group’s website appears to be this: “We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels.”

In Michigan, fossil fuels represent most of the energy used to heat and illuminate our homes and businesses. Three-quarters of the homes in Michigan are heated by natural gas. Coal-fired generation plants provided Michigan 32% of its electricity, as of May. Gas produced 27% and nuclear plants provided 31%. By comparison, renewable sources (not including hydroelectric) provided 8% of Michigan’s electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Jason Hayes, director of environmental policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the following in an email: “Our CO2 emissions are 14% below 2005 levels, the six major pollutants tracked by the EPA have decreased by 74% since 1970, but over that same period we’ve increased the amount of energy we use by 44%. Fossil fuels provide the country with over 80% of the energy that we need to power our daily lives, and the rapid improvements in technologies mean that we are now using those fuels far more cleanly and efficiently than we have ever done before. The demands that we stop using them are a suggested cure that is far worse than the perceived disease.”

Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, characterized the group’s claims that the Earth was akin to “a house on fire” as “extremely overblown.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.