Protecting climate with greenspace in Michigan

CO2 2022/2021 418.69 ppm / 416.70 ppm


Protecting climate with greenspace: An opinion piece in the Free Press makes the case for protecting natural resources to meet state climate goals. Rebecca Esselman and Daniel Brown, who both work with the Huron River Watershed Council, wrote that the state’s “MI Healthy Climate Plan” largely fails to include forests, wetlands, and other habitats in its decarbonization strategies. “We need to maximize the lands we keep as natural areas to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, provide refuge for species, and reduce flood risks,” they write. “Protecting ecosystems is one of the strategies that the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report names as being low cost and low regret, potentially with enormous benefit.” The authors suggest using federal infrastructure money to protect undeveloped natural areas and install green infrastructure. At the national level, the Biden administration has endorsed a plan to protect 30% of the nation’s lands and oceans by 2030, although the politics of actually making that happen could be intense. (Freep, WaPo)

Flood insurance: One of the most significant impacts of the climate crisis in Michigan is expected to be flooding like metro Detroit experienced last June. Most flooding isn’t covered by standard homeowners insurance, but the Detroit Free Press offers some details on what kind of insurance you made need:

  • “Flood”: In the insurance world, a “flood” is water that comes from outside the home. Homeowners can use a flood mapping tool to assess their risk and then purchase flood insurance that corresponds with their budget and risk tolerance.
  • Backups: Standard homeowners insurance also doesn’t usually cover sewer backups, like those many metro Detroiters experienced last summer. However, this can often be added to an existing policy by making a special endorsement.
  • Seepage: Water coming in through the basement walls is less common than the other types of flooding and it can be difficult to tell if it’s covered by an existing policy. "This is where you've really got to do your homework, or work with a good agent that is skilled at identifying where these coverages are in your policy," said Kris Hall, a certified insurance counselor. (Free Press)

Golden State: The Biden administration restored California’s ability to set its own standards for tailpipe emissions, powers which had been revoked during the Trump era. Californians buy roughly 11% of all cars sold in the U.S. and automakers often follow the state’s standards in order to simplify production.“Our partnership with states to confront the climate crisis has never been more important,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “With today’s action, we reinstate an approach that for years has helped advance clean technologies and cut air pollution for people not just in California, but for the U.S. as a whole.” (Detroit News)

See @detroitnews's post on Twitter.

Decommissioned: The closure of a coal-fired power plant near Holland, Michigan, presents the area with an opportunity to develop 2,000 acres of land next to Lake Michigan. “It’s a once-in-a-generation chance with the size of that parcel to do a range of uses that would suit the township and the county, whether that’s residential or commercial,” said John Shay, interim Ottawa County administrator. Consumers Energy plans to decommission the J.H. Campbell coal-fired power plant in 2025, which would likely negatively impact tax revenue for Port Sheldon Township and Grand Haven Public Schools. Area officials are looking at ways to recoup some of this revenue by bringing in commercial development or other uses. Consumers Energy plans to retire all its coal plants by 2025 and transition to methane gas and renewable energy sources. (MLive, Freep)

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