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What now? At the end of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, nearly 200 nations reached an agreement on cutting emissions, which many advocates are calling a failure after language was changed to call for a ”phase down” 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 2.4C of warming by the end of the century, not the 1.5C that was aimed for. And even these projects may be built on flawed data, with many countries underreporting emissions and overestimating how much carbon they’re sequestering in forests. Author and activist Bill McKibben said that the outcome of COP26 tells us more about what governments have already done climate-wise than it does about where climate action is headed. He says the pandemic undermined the ability of activists to pressure governments and businesses, something that is especially necessary in global financial centers like London and New York. “Glasgow’s finish makes clear that when activists aren’t able to push as hard as we need, inertia and vested interest remain powerful forces,” McKibben writes. “The idea that the world’s governments will simply do what needs to be done is just a fairytale.” (Michigan Radio, Guardian)

Disaster work: After Midland flooded in 2020, Bellaliz Gonzalez came to the city to help clean up the damage, part of a growing workforce – often made up of undocumented immigrants – used by businesses like Servpro and Belfor USA to respond to climate disasters. In Midland, Gonzalez came down with COVID-19 after the third-party contractor that employed her failed to provide adequate housing and personal protective equipment. “The work is devastating on the body,” said Sergio Chávez, a sociologist at Rice University who has surveyed hundreds of roofers who follow storms across the country. “The majority of these guys don’t have access to health insurance or paid leave.” A group called Resilience Force is trying to protect these workers from abuses like wage theft, labor trafficking, and assault as well as secure a path to citizenship for those who lack documentation. (New Yorker)


No solar for you: Officials in Washtenaw County’s Bridgewater Township have voted down a solar energy plan that could have paid some landowners $1,100 an acre annually. A number of residents objected to the plans offered by the large renewable energy company Invenergy to roll out more than a thousand of acres of solar panels across the township. “Few would benefit and the visual scar would harm the majority for years,” said one resident. Proponents of the project argued that it would have been a lifeline for farmers and provided the township with desperately needed money. Invenergy said the development would have generated $5.5 million in school district revenue over the life of the project and $1.4 million in property taxes. (MLive)

Climate lab in Detroit: A new University of Michigan program is focusing on climate change impacts in Detroit, specifically the flooding that has plagued the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood in recent years. The School for Environment and Sustainability’s Clinic for Detroit will send master’s students to Detroit where they will partner with the neighborhood organization Jefferson East Inc. to develop strategies for dealing with flooding. This could include expanding pilot projects that use plantings and other methods to sequester stormwater and prevent localized flooding. (Freep)


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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