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Here’s a roundup of headlines from around the state on Michigan and climate. We’ll bring you this roundup from time to time to keep you up-to-date.

On to the news:

Debunking the ‘climate haven’ narrative: Several pieces questioning the narrative casting Michigan and the Great Lakes as a “climate refuge” have surfaced. Events of summer 2021 may be giving pause to those looking to the Mitten state as a future-proof investment haven, as intense precipitation emerges as one of the state’s most immediate climate liabilities. and our infrastructure proves unable to handle it. Following the summer’s multiple basement sewage backups, every drizzle has residents of Grosse Pointe Park speaking of PTSD. Meanwhile. this millennial expat wonders if their backup plan to “inevitably” move home from New York may no longer make sense. Residents of Michigan’s Blackest city are finding that “one day of rain in this ‘comeback’ city reversed the physics of American homeownership toward downward mobility." After losing about $35,000 in appliances and other property in the June 25 storm, Detroiter Dayale Gray asked “Who dropped the ball here? Because I didn’t.” (Bridge Michigan, Washington Post, Fast Company, Bloomberg CityLab, Yahoo News, Slate, The Nation,)

Line 5’s climate impact, explained: There are plenty of arguments for closing Line 5: among them, a rupture risks destroying 700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and decimating the state’s “Pure Michigan” tourism industry. Last week, The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) and the Michigan Climate Action Network (MiCAN) submitted expert testimony to the Michigan Public Service commission detailing the climate impacts of constructing a new tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac. The pipeline’s owner, Enbridge, aims to replace the existing, decrepit one that is currently pumping 23 million gallons of oil and gas each day in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order to cease operations (the two parties are presently in court-ordered mediation). Testimony by Peter Erickson, a senior scientist and climate policy director for the Stockholm Environment Institute, and Peter Howard, an economic policy expert at New York University’s School of Law, was given in an MPSC case that will decide on Enbridge’s request to relocate and replace that pipeline. Howard said the new pipeline would emit excessive greenhouse gas emissions resulting in 27 million metric tons of additional carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and creating $1 billion per year in social and economic costs from 2027 to 2070. “We have an opportunity to say, ‘Let’s not build more fossil fuel infrastructure,’” said Margrethe Kearney, senior attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. (MLive, Grist, Michigan Advance)

Planning for climate action: Washtenaw County launched a one-year, $200,000 effort to create a climate action plan to reduce emissions and mitigate the impact of county operations, as well as those of the 20 local units of government within its jurisdiction. The project will include meetings with local government staff and the public. The City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County’s seat, was the first city in the nation to adopt a climate action plan in 2012; last year, it unveiled a $1.1 billion plan to go carbon neutral after declaring a climate emergency. The city of Detroit is also undertaking a climate action plan that will combine mitigation and adaptation measures. (MLive, Bridge Detroit)

Power outage listening tour: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel launched a listening tour in Novi last week to hear residents’ stories about their experiences losing power over summer 2021. Nessel aims to travel across the state, gathering feedback to advocate before the MPSC on residents’ behalf. The state’s largest utilities, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, have been widely criticized for their failures to restore power to residents following storms. Meanwhile, the MPSC is calling on utilities to provide information about their actions to improve their resilience in the face of intense storms. “Storms are becoming increasingly severe, increasingly common and that we need to do more,” said MPSC Chair Dan Scripps. (Oakland Press, WDET)

Sourcing EV materials at home: The electric vehicle revolution is unfolding faster than expected, and those electrified cars and trucks will require minerals like nickel and lithium — elements that must be mined, causing environmental damage like mountaintop removal and the potential to contaminate groundwater for centuries. Currently, China possesses 80% of the global refining capacity for EV minerals, and President Joe Biden and his allies want to re-shore as much of that capacity as possible, which means balancing environmental harm with production in places like Eagle Mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Some Republicans want to streamline permitting for new projects. But activists and neighbors worry about the environmental costs after the mine closes in a few years. "There is this fundamental tension between clean energy relying upon extractive industries," said Abigail Wulf, director of critical minerals strategy at Securing America’s Future Energy. "This is the trade-off at the end of the day." (Clean Technica, New York Times, Detroit News)

How to fund climate resilience in Michigan? Democratic state legislators unveiled a $5 billion plan to address climate-caused flooding last month. The proposal would form a Climate Resilience Corps to train workers, implement disaster alert and relief navigation assistance, and institute infrastructure standards to increase resilience to events like storms and floods, among other items. The plan faces an uncertain future in the Republican-led legislature. How to pay for the program? Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) proposes bonding. “Michigan has plenty of bonding capacity. That’s how we did it 20 years ago when Democrats and Republicans came together on the Clean Michigan Initiative. We could take that same path,” he said. Republicans have introduced a $2.5 billion bill package to address water infrastructure that shares some of the Dems’ goals. (Michigan Radio, Detroit News)

Pricy cider: You may experience sticker shock at the cider mill this fall. An April cold snap depressed Michigan’s apple production, driving up prices for the tart beverage. Is climate change to blame? “I don’t think we know completely,” Amy Irish-Brown, a commercial tree fruit educator with the Michigan State University Extension in Kent County, said. “I think what’s different is we have more fruit rots and late-season diseases, and that’s related to those warmer temperatures and warmer nights.” (Detroit News)

Beyond Michigan: Signatories to the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, which represent the world’s largest economies, are not on track to meet their pledged reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Biden calls on world leaders to focus on reducing methane. Learn how to measure your air quality. Climate change is at the forefront of Germany’s upcoming elections. More climate refuge debunking. Are bankrupt oil companies primed for leaks? Carbon neutral steel? Does nature have rights? (Michigan Radio, New York Times, Vox, The Guardian, EE News, The New Yorker, Inside Climate News)


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