In Bay City, Senator Stabenow Releases Report on the Impact of Climate Crisis in Michigan

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

BAY CITY – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today released a report on the impact of the climate crisis on Michigan at a press conference in Bay City. Speakers discussed the impact of the climate crisis on fishing, wildlife and outdoor recreation in Michigan as well as how Michigan is leading efforts towards a cleaner and more efficient future.  

“Science is clear. The climate crisis is already impacting Michigan’s Great Lakes, public health, agriculture and our economy,” said Senator Stabenow. “While there is no silver bullet to address this crisis, Michigan is poised to lead the way in finding solutions. Our state’s investments in renewable and zero emission electricity, energy efficiency and new vehicle technologies are already creating good-paying jobs, lowering the cost of energy and reducing the impact of the climate crisis.”

Senator Stabenow’s new report titled “The Climate Crisis and Michigan” documents scientific research on the impact of climate change in Michigan. The impact on our Great Lakes and economy include coastal communities at greater risk from erosion and flooding, warmer waters displacing native fish like walleye and trout, and disruptions to winter recreation like ice fishing, skating, snowmobiling, and skiing. 

The report outlines how Michigan is uniquely positioned to address the climate crisis through improved energy efficiency, clean energy vehicles and infrastructure, and renewable and zero emission electricity. Michigan currently ranks first in the Midwest for clean energy jobs and fifth in the country. Michigan’s clean-energy industry is expected to grow another 9% in 2019, more than any other state in the Midwest.

Michigan is transitioning towards a cleaner energy portfolio and numerous cities have committed to achieving as much as 100% renewable energy generation in the coming decades. There are more than 11,400 renewable energy jobs in Michigan, including more than 10,000 focused on the manufacturing and installation of wind turbines and solar panels.

“Here in Michigan, we are already feeling the impacts of climate change on our lands and waterways, such as harmful algal blooms in our Great Lakes and increased risks for migratory birds,” said Frank Szollosi, Great Lakes Climate Policy Director of National Wildlife Federation. “Addressing these impacts is crucial to protecting and restoring our wildlife habitats and populations. We thank Senator Stabenow for leading on this issue and releasing this informative report.”

“Climate change is certainly the most difficult issue that we face today, and the impacts of climate change are overarching many of the human disturbances to our Great Lakes and waterways,” said Dr. Don Uzarski, Director of Central Michigan University’s Institute for Great Lakes Research and Director of the CMU Biological Station. “We are seeing climate change promoting favorable conditions for invasive species and causing catastrophic storm events that increase runoff. I appreciate Senator Stabenow’s efforts in this area, as we all should.”

“To avoid the worst consequences of climate change, we have to make major reductions in global carbon emissions, and also implement strategies to adapt to those impacts we can’t prevent,” said Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, Dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. “Doing this in Michigan, and in a sustainable and just manner, is a major focus of our school.”

“Climate change poses a significant, long-term threat to coldwater fisheries, including the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishery, both by increasing water temperatures in critical habitat areas and by contributing to the frequency and severity of adverse weather events,” said Taylor Ridderbusch, Great Lakes Organizer of Trout Unlimited. “As an organization that was founded in Michigan and strives to conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries, we look forward to working with Senator Stabenow, and Congress as a whole, to address this difficult issue with sound science and diligent implementation on the ground.”