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Warm and snowy: The Great Lakes are the warmest they’ve ever been in November, which could lead to higher temperatures this winter and, somewhat paradoxically, more snow. La Niña–cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in part of the Pacific Ocean–could also drive above-average temperatures in the Great Lakes region all winter long. "We're going to have low (Great Lakes) ice cover this year, and lake-effect snow is going to be large," said Jia Wang, a climatologist at NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab. Cold air passing over relatively warm water produces lake-effect snow, especially in the Upper Peninsula and northwest Lower Peninsula. (Freep)

Uphill battles: Chances for passage may be slim, but state Democratic lawmakers introduced over a dozen bills to help Michigan respond to the climate crisis through measures such as tree planting, home weatherization, improving stormwater management and more. “It is going to be an uphill battle, frankly, and there’s no illusion that it’s going to be easy. But a lot of these types of bills, especially when we’re in the minority, and we’re introducing ideas that may not be accepted by the majority, it’s still important for us to introduce them to sort of set the standard of what we would like to achieve,” said State Rep. Yousef Rabhi. One piece of legislation, Senate Bill 593, would allow local governments to establish stormwater utilities and collect fees. The various bills are part of the Democrats’ climate resilience plan, which looks to invest $5 billion in climate change mitigation. (MLive)

McMansions: Despite often living in older, less energy-efficient homes, African American households produce fewer greenhouse emissions than their white counterparts. Better insulation and energy-efficient appliances found in predominantly white neighborhoods fail to offset the emissions produced by larger homes, according to research published in the journal Energy Research and Social Science. “The research points to the need to decarbonize our electricity grid mix and develop distributed solar energy systems to bring down carbon emissions, especially in the case with suburban neighborhoods with large homes,” said Joshua Newell, an Associate Professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan and co-author of the study. In predominantly African American areas, homeowners and landlords may benefit from assistance that allows them to update heating systems and install other energy efficiency measures. (Michigan Radio)

Climate planning: State officials are soliciting input for the MI Healthy Climate Plan, a framework for reducing greenhouse emissions across the state that the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) will develop in 2022. One idea developed by the state’s Council on Climate Solutions is to plant one billion trees by 2050, and the Department of Natural Resources has set an interim goal to plant 50 million trees by 2030. However, critics have described massive tree-planting programs as a “dangerous diversion” and no substitute for the hard work of actually cutting emissions. Have a better idea? EGLE wants to hear from you and is hosting online listening sessions on December 1 and December 2. (MLive, NY Times)

Itchy and deadly: Climate change may be making tick infestations worse for moose in Michigan, according to data collected at Isle Royale National Park. Winter tick infestations are common for moose and sometimes fatal for calves. Research shows that moose have more ticks during winters that follow warm summers, perhaps because higher temperatures accelerate the development of tick eggs, causing more of them to hatch. And the profusion of ticks can make moose anemic and less likely to reproduce, contributing to population declines in the Northeast. However, Isle Royale’s moose are relatively sheltered on account of limited predation from wolves and no exposure to deer, which carry brainworm, a deadly parasite. (Detroit News)

Nowhere looks more promising’: Michigan will be the place to be in 2050, according to geopolitics and globalization experts Dr. Parag Khanna and Greg Lindsay. Khanna’s new book, Move: The Forces Uprooting Us, calls Michigan a “climate oasis” due to its latitude and the abundant access to freshwater offered by the Great Lakes. Its economic promise and political situation are also boons, according to Khanna, because, well, we’ve better prospects than, say, Russia. Khanna predicts Michigan’s population decline will reverse, but that we’d better start rebuilding our infrastructure to accommodate them. “When we think about Michigan and infrastructure, we should be thinking cross-border as well as domestic…Detroit is the thriving midpoint of the Chicago-Toronto corridor, and Chicago and Toronto are obviously two of the greatest cities in the world. And here you are, right in between them.” (Michigan Radio)


What questions do you have about the environment and climate change in Michigan? Please let us know by reaching out to me at nina@planetdetroit.org. NOTE: Please don't reply to this email, it will go into a digital neth of coal power rather than a “phase-out”. Experts say that based on the goals set at the conference, the world is still on track for

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