And hope for change on climate change. What I find exciting.
It seems every day there is new report, event, legislative action, or other news about Climate Change. And much of it is actually great news. Here is a review of what I’ve been observing and am excited about:
First, the bad news we have come to expect:
- IPCC report – this is the one that got a lot of attention. The latest science from the Nobel Prize-winning International Panel on Climate Change concludes that global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, and that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 – 60% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
- NCA report – The Fourth National Climate Assessment focused on impacts to the United States, including annual losses to the U.S. economy of hundreds of billions of dollars by 2100, increases in lyme disease and other insect-borne ailments, drought and reduced snow pack resulting the the death of trees and changes in forest types, and elimination of coldwater fisheries in Michigan.
- NRDC report – The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Ecology Center recently released “Climate Change and Health in Michigan,” which details impacts specific to Michigan.
Luckily, this and other reports have spurred a flurry of discussions and even two pieces of legislation to fight climate change.
Ways to learn more:
- Climate Policy on Campus. February 19, 7 – 8:30 pm. Annenberg Room, 1120 Weill Hall. Join the conversation about future climate action at the University of Michigan.
- Michigan Climate Action Summit, Thursday, February 21, Eberhard Center, Grand Rapids. The Summit will bring together the general public, advocates, activists, and policymakers to discuss how to move Michigan forward on climate.
- Climate Change and Health, Tuesday, February 26, 3:30 – 5pm, Palmer Commons. This University of Michigan-sponsored summit will discuss how climate change is a public health issue.
Now some good news!
- The Green New Deal is a sweeping new proposal, introduced in the House last week as a resolution, that aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years.
- The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 763, could be the 1st Green New Deal action to reach that goal. It would place a fee on carbon at the point at which it is extracted (such as at an oil or gas well) and re-distribute that money equally as a dividend to American households. It would reduce America’s emissions by at least 40% in the 1st 12 years. It puts money directly into people’s pockets to spend as they see fit, helping low and middle income Americans.
- The University of Michigan has recently appointed a committee to implement its pledge to bring the University to net zero emissions.
- Michigan’s new Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has joined the the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of governors who commit to implementing the Paris climate principles, despite the federal government’s promise to withdraw from the agreement.
- Whitmer has also created a new office of climate and energy, which will coordinate efforts across state government to address climate change and will ensure that climate change is a consideration in the vetting of new policies.
What Can You Do?
“It will take everyone doing everything to solve the climate crisis,” – Al Gore
- Join The Climate Reality Project, Washtenaw County Chapter. Our chapter organizes events, give presentations, and advocates for climate action. We meet on the last Monday of every month at the Ann Arbor Downtown Library.
- Join the Citizens Climate Lobby. Our Ann Arbor chapter lobbies our legislature, gives presentations, and advocates for placing a price on carbon. We are very energized by the latest introduction of H.R. 763 described above. There are also chapters all over Michigan. Go to the web site and find your chapter.
- If you live in Ann Arbor, urge your city council person to fund the city’s Climate Action Plan
- Call your Representative and Senators and urge their support for H.R. 763 and the Green New Deal