climate change | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

climate change

A bridge over a murky river has a drain with bars across it.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

From January 2018 through May 2019, 6.7 billion gallons of diluted or partially treated sewage, called combined sewer overflows (CSOs) spilled into Michigan waters.

CSOs are the result of sewer systems that drain both stormwater runoff AND human and industrial waste. Eighty municipalities in Michigan have such systems, known as combined sewer systems.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Each year in Michigan, billions of gallons of raw or partially treated sewage end up in the state's rivers and eventually in the Great Lakes. That pollution can make people sick. There are two causes. One is poor sewer systems. The second is heavy rains. 

And climate change could be making the problem worse. 

people holding climate change protest signs
Bob Blob / Unsplash

All this week, Michigan Radio's Environment Report will be focusing on climate change and how it's already affecting us in the state of Michigan, and what's expected to change in the future. It's a huge crisis we face now — and that generations to come will face — and it will affect every aspect of our lives, from what we eat, to how we travel, to how we live inside our homes.

Photo shows the inside of a culvert. It's square with concrete walls and a very shallow stream of water is running through it.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Climate change is likely to bring more extreme rainfall and flooding to Michigan. So, flood risk in the next 100 years will probably look very different than in the last. But, much of our infrastructure, like culverts, bridges, and storm drains, is still being designed and built based on the floods of the past.


Solar panels
Ford Motor Company / Flickr

Toyota says it will offset 40% of its global warming emissions from its North American operations within three years.

It will do that by buying contracts for new wind and solar projects.

The Toyota commitment is part of an encouraging trend, according to Greg Wetstone, CEO of the American Council on Renewable  Energy.

Bridge: Climate change drives shifts between high, low Great Lakes water levels

Jul 23, 2019

The North American Great Lakes contain about one-fifth of the world’s surface fresh water. In May, new high water level records were set on Lakes Erie and Superior, and there has been widespread flooding across Lake Ontario for the second time in three years. These events coincide with persistent precipitation and severe flooding across much of central North America.

Bridge: Think it’s hot now? Michigan’s 90° days could quadruple in 20 years

Jul 16, 2019
Adobe Stock

All 83 counties in Michigan are getting hotter, and a report released Tuesday predicts it will only get worse, as the number of days with heat indexes over 90 degrees will quadruple in the next 20 years.

The report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit science advocacy group, predicts extreme temperatures will soar nationwide if nothing is done to curb climate change.

Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

People in Guadalajara, Mexico, woke up on Sunday to a thick blanket of ice over areas of their city, after a freak hailstorm that damaged houses and left cars partially buried.

This is particularly striking because it's the middle of summer. In the past month, temperatures most days have hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit or over.

Credit Creative Commons

 


Today on Stateside, school budgets are due today, but they'll be educated guesses until the legislature and governor pass a new budget. Plus, a London police officer has a new memoir about the 15 years he spent observing the Detroit Police Department. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.  

The warnings come with unsettling regularity:

Climate change threatens 1 million plant and animal species.

Warmer oceans could lose one-sixth of their fish and other marine life by the end of the century.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Rising Great Lakes water levels are causing damage to some structures on Michigan shorelines. The Holland Sentinel reports a section of seawall at Kollen Park in Holland sustained damage during a storm.

Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit, said lake levels are expected to topple record highs this summer.

“For the month of May, a new record high for the month was set and additional record highs for the months of June, July, August and September are expected,” he said.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) isn’t the only Democrat running for president campaigning in Michigan Tuesday.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee is positioning himself as the climate change candidate. He toured parts of Detroit to promote his “evergreen economy” plan.

pipes inside generating station
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

In 2016, Michigan got an important new tool in the growing effort to limit global heating.

The state's new energy law requires regulated utilities, for the first time, to submit long-term strategic plans that include reducing carbon emissions.   

The plans are called Integrated Resource Plans, or IRPs.

Consumers Energy and DTE Energy have now submitted their first IRPs, and the plans show that Michigan's two biggest utilities differ on how aggressively to cut carbon emissions.

Part of the new line 6B pipeline in central Michigan.
Mark Brush ❤️ / Michigan Radio

A new report by an energy watchdog group says companies are betting over a trillion dollars in risky gas pipeline projects.

Global Energy Monitor says these projects are hugely expensive - so the payback is over decades. Climate scientists say we need to stop burning fossil fuels completely by 2050.

Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Lab

Some cities in Michigan are putting together climate change action plans. Part of that is making everything more energy efficient in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. One of the big concerns is making sure low-income households are not left behind.

Hurricane Maria was the rainiest storm known to have hit Puerto Rico, and climate change is partly to blame, according to a new study.

The worst rain fell in the mountainous central part of Puerto Rico, from the northwest to the southeast. That part of the island is rainy under normal conditions. In an average year, it gets more than 150 inches of rain.

When Maria hit in 2017, it dropped nearly a quarter of that annual rainfall in just one day.

Picture of Lake Superior
Isabella Isaacs-Thomas / Michigan Radio

A new report commissioned by the Environmental Law and Policy Center urges Great Lakes states to mitigate and prepare for the "profound" effects of climate change.

The report, authored by more than a dozen Midwest and Canadian researchers, says Great Lakes states will see more very hot days, increases in heavy rainfall and flooding, declines in crop yields, and threats to drinking water.  

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Several hundred Ann Arbor high school and university students walked out of class Friday to urge swifter action on climate change.

University of Michigan student Logan Vear is an organizer. 

She points to a new report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warns that humans must completely eliminate their carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. That would give the world a fighting chance of limiting global warming.

But many companies - including Michigan's two largest utilities - only promise to reduce their CO2 emissions by 80% by then.

"And I think there are a lot of existing deadlines like that, not only in Michigan but across the nation, that obviously are not good enough," says Vear.

MSU

The University of Michigan has established a commission on achieving carbon neutrality, to help fight climate change. 

But student activists say the process is already deeply flawed.  

Carbon neutrality means reducing carbon emissions as much as possible, and balancing what's left with actions like planting forests, which absorb carbon, or buying credits with renewable energy companies.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A lot of people assume a healthy diet is also good for the environment. A recently published study lends some credence to that conventional wisdom.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Environmentalists are giving a road map to Michigan’s elected leaders for dealing with threats to the state’s land, lakes and drinking water.  

Twenty conservation and environmental groups delivered their recommendations last week.

Lisa Wozniak is the executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. 

A graph shows annual average temperature values for the State of Michigan from 1895 through 2018. The graph varies widely from year to year but shows a general upward trend.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

New Year, new data. Climate change continues to affect the mitten state. Here are four places you should keep watching for it.

Smokestacks spewing pollution
mdprovost ~ Prosper in 2011 / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A new study says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should consider the effects of burning fossil fuels on children in its regulation process - and not just adults, as it mainly does now.

The study conducted a systematic review of scientific literature on the effects on children's development and health from pollutants from fossil fuels.

Those pollutants include particulate matter, powerful toxins known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and nitrogen dioxide, as well as carbon dioxide, which is warming the planet.

Michigan History Center

 

Today, big changes in the lame duck session could be coming over who controls oversight of Michigan schools. Bills sponsored by term-limited Representative Tim Kelly would create a new 13-member education commission. Plus, voters approved Proposal 3, also called "Promote the Vote," on Nov. 6, but now Senator Mike Kowall has introduced a series of bills during the lame duck session that would alter what voters have approved.

hurricane michael satellite image
NOAA

This week, Stateside has been bringing you a series of conversations about the recent National Climate Assessment, a report compiled by 13 federal agencies that breaks down how climate change is projected to impact different regions of the United States.

Andrew Hoffman is a the Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He joined Stateside to talk about the risk climate change poses to the economy, and how that risk might help convince people skeptical about climate change to change their mind. 

Samples of various drinking water pipes.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council expresses concern over the city of Flint's approach to replacing lead and iron water pipes. Plus, what we can learn about education in Detroit from the sudden closure of a charter school in the city just three weeks into this school year. 

Picture of Lake Superior
Isabella Isaacs-Thomas / Michigan Radio

The federal government’s recent National Climate Assessment broke down how our planet’s changing climate is projected to impact the United States region by region. Headlines about the report have used words like "chilling," "ominous," and "devastation."

So what changes can residents of the Great Lakes state expect to see in coming decades?

Morgan McCaul
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, General Motors is set to keep receiving tax breaks from the state of Michigan until 2029. That's in spite of the company's recent decision to cut thousands of jobs and shut down production at two plants in the state. Plus, a co-author of this year's National Climate Assessment shares how climate change is projected to impact Michigan and the Midwest in coming decades. 

damaged road and car
Vicky Ingram

On Black Friday, the federal government released its National Climate Assessment.

Compiled by 13 federal agencies, the landmark report spells out the consequences we’re already seeing — and that we’ll continue to see worsen over time — as a result of climate change. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Michigan and the Midwest are already feeling the effects of climate change, which will grow and worsen as temperatures climb throughout this century, according to a new report.

The second part of the fourth National Climate Assessment looks at impacts, risks, and mitigation efforts across the U.S. It’s the work of scientists and experts from across a variety of federal agencies. While officially released by the White House, its conclusions are sharply different from the Trump administration’s position on climate change

Pages