Friday, February 15, 2013
After a campaign that barely saw a mention of climate change – and even had debate moderator Candy Crowley apologizing for NOT asking about climate change – President Obama ended the so-called “climate silence” as soon as he was sworn in for his second term. In fact, the President made addressing climate change a key part of both his inaugural address and of his State of the Union. (more…)
Monday, July 23, 2012
MICHIGAN (July 19, 2012) – More than 140 academics, scientists and experts in Michigan have signed an open letter in support of ramping up Michigan’s renewable electricity standard to 25 percent by 2025.
The letter — saying the idea is feasible and would yield both economic and health benefits — was signed by scientists, engineers, economists and health professionals from across Michigan (listed below).
“Innovative Michigan businesses realize clean energy is good for their bottom line. By refueling our economy with Michigan’s renewable energy, we can keep hard earned dollars in our state that would otherwise leave to pay for imported coal and oil,” said John Patten, director of Western Michigan University’s Manufacturing Research Center and professor and chair of the Department of Manufacturing Engineering.
Voters likely will decide this fall whether utilities should be required to use renewable resources — such as wind, solar, and biomass — to produce 25 percent of the electricity they generate. Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers is now certifying that supporters collected enough signatures to include the question on the November ballot.
“Keeping Michigan’s energy dollars in our state will create even more economic benefits. By boosting our use of renewable energy, we can keep in state more of the approximately $1.4 billion we spend every year to import coal to fuel coal-fired power plants that are polluting our environment and hurting our health,” said Sean Huberty, professor at Lansing Community College’s Alternative Energy Program.
The experts say increasing reliance on renewables would help the economy in several ways, including redirecting money spent on coal imports to homegrown fuel sources. The state spends about $1.4 billion every year importing coal for electricity generation, according to the letter.
Meanwhile, the state’s current renewable energy standard, which requires utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015, has a proven track record of economic success. It has already spurred at least $100 million in investments in the state.
“Generating 25 percent of our electricity from renewable energy will make Michigan competitive with other Midwest states in the growing clean energy industry. In Iowa for example, renewables already make up 20 percent of the electricity mix versus only 4 percent today in Michigan,” said Barry Solomon, founder and former president of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics and director of Michigan Technological University’s Graduate Program in Environmental Policy.
Increasing the state’s reliance on clean energy has the added benefit of reducing air pollution, protecting the Great Lakes and other water resources, and reining in carbon emissions, according to the letter.
“Fishing is a vital lure for Michigan’s growing tourism industry, but mercury pollution limits safe consumption of the fish caught here. Using more renewable energy is one way to reduce toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants, the No. 1 source of mercury emissions in the Great Lakes region,” said Nicholas Schroeck, director of the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic at Wayne State University Law School.
The endorsers of the Open Letter on Clean Energy and Green Jobs from Michigan Scientists, Engineers, Economists, and Technical and Health Professionals are based at a wide variety of institutions, including universities and colleges, government agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. The endorsers’ signatures include their institutional affiliation for identification purposes only, and the listing below should not be construed to imply any institutional endorsement.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
When a string of 80-degree days settled over Chicago in March, we reached out to climate scientists at all 12 Big Ten schools. The result was a compelling Op-ed co-authored by the entire group and worked on through Memorial Day. It looks at extreme weather probability, climate modeling and our changing planet.
Major newspapers in many states that are home to a Big Ten school have published the piece.
“Over the Memorial Day weekend, high-temperature records were set in 16 states. Chicago hit 97 degrees — the hottest May 27 in the city’s 142 years of record-keeping. Cleveland, Detroit, South Bend, Ind., and Toledo, Ohio, all hit record highs as well.” Published June 6, 2012
See the Chicago Tribune Op-ed online
Download a PDF of the Chicago Tribune Op-ed
“Cleveland had it’s warmest March in recorded history as locals swapped winter coats for shorts and enjoyed 80-degree afternoons.” Published June 13, 2012
Download a PDF of the Plain Dealer Op-ed
“At coffee shops, truck stops and around backyard grills, many people are asking the same question: As the climate changes, can we expect more of this?” Published June 16, 2012
Download a PDF of the Wisconsin State Journal Op-ed
“There is a strong probability that climate change is influencing certain extreme weather events.” Published June 17, 2012
Download a PDF of the Indianapolis Star Op-ed
“Wednesday will be the first official day of summer, but not the first day of scorching temperatures. The forecast for Tuesday, the last day of spring, called for a high of 97 degrees, which would break a record set 48 years ago” Published June 19, 2012
See the Freep Op-ed online
Download a PDF of Freep.com Op-ed
“Meanwhile, tornadoes tore through Lincoln County (Neb.), tossing train cars around like children’s toys. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received 223 reports of tornadoes nationwide, when 80 tornadoes is the March norm. Southwestern Nebraska, Ohio and parts of the Southeast faced a string of tornadoes in early March that caused $1.5 billion worth of damage.” Published June 21, 2012
Download a PDF of the Omaha World-Herald Op-ed
“Summer 2012 is barely a week old, but already Iowans are wondering if we’re headed for a record setting season. Temperatures in Des Moines have flirted with 1934’s record of 102 degrees. It’s been a hot start to 2012.” Published July 2, 2012
Download a PDF of the Des Moines Register Op-ed