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‘Inaction is irresponsible’: In November 2022, Ann Arbor voters will decide whether to institute a 20-year tax to fight climate change. The city council voted to pass the climate action millage proposal on to voters after it was proposed by Mayor Christopher Taylor. The tax could raise as much as $6.8 million in the first year to fund sustainability efforts through the city’s “A2Zero” plan, which looks to achieve carbon neutrality and 100% renewable power generation by 2030. “I think we all understand that the problem will not be solved by our community alone, but I also think that inaction is irresponsible,” Taylor said. “The creation of the A2Zero plan already has inspired others to take action and take note.” (MLive)
Get ready: Great Lakes cities like Duluth, Minnesota, and Buffalo, New York have been pitched as havens for those looking to escape wildfires, hurricanes, and other climate disasters, but experts say these places have work to do if they want to accommodate climate migrants. Since no place is truly safe from climate change, these communities will need to increase their climate resiliency by protecting shorelines and improving sewer infrastructure. Cities looking to accommodate climate migrants will also need to protect current residents from gentrification and build housing and transportation that is itself climate-friendly. And even with these pieces in place, it still may be difficult for some to accustom themselves to waves of newcomers. “We can build the schools, we can build the housing, but is that local community ready for big shifts of people moving into the location, and potentially people who are very different from them?” asked Vivek Shandas, a climate change researcher at Portland State University. (Grist)
Power sources: Activists in West Michigan are pushing Consumers Energy to retire non-renewable energy sources earlier than planned. The group MI Future MI Power asks the public to send their comments to the Michigan Public Service Commission, which reviews the utility’s 20-year integrated resource plan for power generation and other infrastructure. The group argues that the climate crisis and burning of fossil fuels affect low-income people and communities of color the most. Sergio Cira-Reyes, community engagement director for Grand Rapids-based Urban Core Collective in Grand Rapids, said that natural gas also threatens groundwater because of the fracking chemicals injected into bedrock to extract methane. “Consumers Energy switching to renewables, to wind and solar, is so important not just because burning fossil fuels to generate electricity for us is contributing to climate change at a rapid rate and disproportionately impacting communities of color and people that are low-income, but also it threatens our most precious resource, and that’s our water,” he said. (MLive)
Here in my car: Electric cars continue to offer what one writer calls “a politically simple, one-stop expiation for our unsustainable ways’’, doing nothing to address the inequities of a car-dependent society, the emissions embedded in roadway construction or the pollution created by the power sources themselves. But this is Detroit, so we dutifully report:
- Over 50 utilities, including DTE, promise to build more charging stations for electric vehicles. DTE says there will be more charging stations in its coverage area that extends from the Ohio border to the tip of the thumb.
- The Biden Administration has directed the federal government to purchase only EVs, starting in 2027, and transition entirely to zero-emission vehicles by 2035. President Biden promised that the new purchases would be "made right here in America made by American workers." The federal government has a fleet of roughly 650,000 vehicles.
- After Ford Motor Company announced two new battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky, GM said it would invest $2.5 billion in a battery plant near Lansing. It’s worth noting that the new plant will be served by the publicly-owned Lansing Board of Water Light. Both of Ford’s new battery plants will also be served by public utilities, which often charge lower rates. GM’s move comes as Michigan lawmakers roll out a package of bills to attract business that entails sending undisclosed levels of funding to undisclosed businesses after lawmakers signed non-disclosure agreements. Ain’t democracy grand? (NY Times, Bloomberg, Channel 4, Detroit News, Outlier, Deadline Detroit)
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