CO2 2022/2021 : 416 ppm / 413.2 ppm
Dear Michigan Climate News readers,
In the news this week: Michiganders are among the most impacted by power outages — with only Texans suffering more. President Joe Biden visited the auto show in Detroit last week to announce federal funds for an EV charging network across 34 states and Puerto Rico. And University of Michigan students are getting counseling to soothe their climate anxieties — something to which underprivileged folks have little access.
And please join us on Friday, Sept. 30 at noon for a conversation on "What is ‘utility redlining’ and why does it matter for DTE customers?" SIGN UP HERE
Enjoy your week!
— Nina Ignaczak, Editor of Michigan Climate News + Planet Detroit
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THIS WEEK'S NEWS
We’re # 2 behind Texas!: Extreme weather driven by the climate crisis is causing more power outages across the country, and Michigan has it worse than most places. Texas had the highest number of outages since 2000 followed by Michigan, California, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to a study from Climate Central. The report also found that outages had increased by 64% nationally in the last ten years when compared to the decade before and 83% of outages were caused by extreme weather events like storms, wildfires, or drought. Experts say the country needs to build a more resilient grid with small renewable power sources and power lines that can withstand high temperatures and other stressors. This weekend’s tropical storm in Puerto Rico offered another reminder of what these threats mean for communities. Damage from the storm caused the island’s centralized, aging, and mismanaged grid to fail, cutting off power to most of the territory’s three million residents. (CNN, Guardian, NY Times)
Charging up: Last week, President Joe Biden visited the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and announced a $900 million plan to build electric vehicle charging infrastructure across 34 states and Puerto Rico. “We don’t have the capacity now to power anywhere near the fleet that we need,” said Nico Larco, director of Urbanism Next Center at the University of Oregon. Last year’s infrastructure bill provided a total of $5 billion for charging infrastructure, but this round of funding will focus on powerful chargers for “alternative fuel corridors” on major freeways. Under the program’s guidelines, states are required to install chargers every 50 miles, placing them within a mile of a freeway off-ramp. Some experts say these regularly spaced charging stations are what’s needed to address “range anxiety” or the fear of running out of power on a long trip. (AP)
Anxiety always: Universities are looking to provide counseling that validates the stress students are feeling on account of the climate crisis and offers coping strategies. Dan Murphy and Carolyn Scorpio with the University of Michigan’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) have created a 10-week pilot program that helps students share their concerns about climate change, find ways to address their anxiety and communicate their feelings with family and friends. However, psychologists say those seeking this kind of counseling are often from privileged backgrounds, even though people in low-income areas and communities of color deal with disproportionate impacts from climate change and other crises. “You don’t have the space to have that kind of change unless you have that degree of privilege, which leaves you with time and energy to work on it,” said Elizabeth Haase, chair of the American Psychiatric Association Committee on Climate Change and Mental Health. (WaPo)
Warm fall, snowy winter: Michigan and the Great Lakes are looking at above-average temperatures and less precipitation than normal this fall, according to forecasting from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These predictions correspond with long-term climate trends that show warmer fall weather across the eastern U.S. and especially the Great Lakes region. As for winter, NOAA predicts temperatures will be closer to average in the Great Lakes. However, on account of the La Niña weather pattern, there’s a higher likelihood of precipitation in areas of southeast Michigan that include Jackson, Ann Arbor, and metro Detroit, which could mean more snow than normal. (MLive)
Making it rain: The Detroit News has a long read on the million-dollar lobbying effort that took place before lawmakers passed a recent budget bill. DTE Energy is likely to be one of the big winners from this process on account of a grant program run by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) that could spend $50 million in state funds to connect natural gas to rural areas dependent on propane. Michigan taxpayers would pay for the utility to run a gas connection to the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort south of Traverse City. DTE reported $907 million in profits in 2021. The Michigan Environmental Council asked the MPSC not to spend state money on natural gas, saying it will contribute to “volatile utility bills,” air pollution and climate change. (Detroit News)
JOIN US LIVE: What is ‘utility redlining’ and why does it matter for DTE customers?
Join Planet Detroit’s managing editor as we talk with We the People Research Director and Alex B. Hill and consultant Jackson Koeppel, co-authors of the policy brief Utility Redlining: Distribution in the DTE Service Area.
What questions do you have about the environment and climate change in Michigan? Please let us know by reaching out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit reply!