Michigan Climate and Energy Facts:

Michigan is Vulnerable to Climate Change:

  • Michigan’s agricultural sector is already being adversely affected by changes in rainfall and average temperature. Severe cold snaps decimated Michigan’s fruit production in 2002, and again in 2012, costing upwards of $60 million of damage to Michigan’s cherry crop. At the same time longer summers are making it possible for some Michigan farmers to practice double-cropping.
  • The National Climate Assessment identifies the major impacts from climate change affecting the Great Lakes region of the Midwest as a rise in extreme heat, more variable precipitation that results in periods of heavy downpours, and flooding that damages infrastructure and agriculture and disrupts lake ecosystems. The rate of precipitation is recorded as having increased by nearly 30 percent over the average rate seen during the first half of the 20th century.
  • Risks to the Great Lakes exacerbated by climate change include warmer water temperatures that increase the risk of algae blooms and the likelihood of ‘dead zones’ in the water column, while the higher temperatures facilitate the spread of invasive species. All of these effects are hurting fishing and other water-based industries.
  • The Michigan Department of Community Health published a statewide climate adaptation plan in January 2011, the Climate and Health Adaptation 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. The plan emphasizes three areas impacted by a changing climate: heat events, air quality, and water quality and quantity. The plan particularly focused on the health risks exacerbated by climate change in these three areas. The plan was funded as part of the Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Michigan’s Clean Energy Efforts and Opinions:

  • A majority of adults in Michigan, 61 percent, understand global warming is happening. Seventy-eight percent support funding research into renewable energy resources, and 76 percent support regulating CO2 as a pollutant.
  • The Clean Power Plan would require Michigan to cut its emissions 39.4 percent  by 2030. The state is party to the lawsuit against the CPP.
  • Although the state could satisfy its current carbon reduction targets simply by following through on existing policies, Michigan suspended work on drafting a CPP compliance plan in the aftermath of the Supreme Court placement of a temporary stay on the Plan.
  • In 2008 Michigan passed a major energy law that set a 10 percent renewable energy standard for the state by 2015 and mandated a 1 percent per year improvement in overall energy efficiency. However, proposed billswould dismantle both these targets, and negotiations are ongoing.
  • As of 2014, Michigan was generating 7.7 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
  • As of 2014, Michigan ranked 14th in installed wind capacity with 1,531 MW. It provided up to 4,000 jobs. As of 2014, Michigan had a total installed capacity of solar of 18 MW, ranking it 31st in the nation, and added only 3 MW in the course of one year.
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