Climate change is likely to increase the frequency of floods in Michigan. Over the last 50 years, average annual precipitation in most of the Midwest has increased by 5 to 10 percent. During the next century, spring rainfall and annual precipitation are likely to increase, and severe rainstorms are likely to intensify. Each of these factors will tend to further increase the risk of flooding.
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.
Warmer winters are likely to shorten the season for snow and ice-related recreational activities, which would harm local economies in Michigan. Small lakes are freezing later and thawing earlier than a century ago, which shortens the season for ice fishing and ice skating. Since the early 1970s, winter ice coverage in the Great Lakes has decreased by 63 percent.
Public Act 342 was signed into law in December 2016, amending the state energy law, which requires Michigan electric providers to increase renewable energy in their portfolio from 10 percent in 2015 to 15 percent in 2021, with an interim compliance requirement of 12.5 percent in 2019 and 2020.
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.
Michigan’s opinions and action on climate change
A majority of adults in Michigan, 68 percent, understand global warming is happening. Eighty-two percent support funding research into renewable energy resources, and 75 percent support regulating CO2 as a pollutant.
Cities and universities in Michigan are committed to the Paris Agreement on combat climate change. East Lansing, Grand Rapids and three other cities, as well as Michigan, Michigan State and Western Michigan Universities have all signed on to the We Are Still In declaration of continued commitment to the goals of the Paris climate agreement.