Paris in Michigan, PACE in Saginaw, Training in Midland

For June 9, 2017

1 – More than 200 U.S. mayors, including a number in Michigan, have signed on commit to goals of the Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump is pulling the U.S. out of the climate accord, which was signed by nearly 200 other countries and aims to reduce polluting emissions by 2025.

The more than 200 mayors have signed on to an agreement from a national group called Climate Mayors.

Michigan cities that have committed to honor the Paris agreement include: Ann Arbor, Buchanan, Detroit, East Lansing, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Lapeer, Pleasant Ridge, Rockwood, Royal Oak, Traverse City, and Ypsilanti.

Other cities are being encouraged to join the coalition.

 

2 – School may be out for some, but summer offers training opportunities on forestry, trails and invasive species.

The Little Forks Conservancy of Midland is hosting three workshops for volunteers interested in learning from experts about managing natural lands.

The first is 6 p.m. June 27 and will focus on tree care and forest management.

The second is 6 p.m. July 18 and will discuss how to create and maintain a trail network.

The final workshop is 6 p.m. Aug. 22 and will focus on identifying and removing non-native invasive plant species.

Each workshop will meet at Little Forks Conservancy office at 105 Post St. in Midland. Participants who attend all three workshops will be designated as Certified Stewards for Little Forks.

The workshops are free and open to the public. Registration is required by contacting Sara Huetteman at 989.835.4886 or shuetteman@littleforks.org.

For more details, call 989.835.4886 or visit www.littleforks.org.

 

3 – Saginaw is celebrating the transformation of a classic, 88-year-old apartment building in a downtown neighborhood.

The project involved installing all new windows, cutting $610,000 from the building’s 20 year-operating cost, and reducing the apartments’ carbon footprint.  

The work was accomplished through Property Assessed Clean Energy financing. The state-adopted program, also known as PACE, allows property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through a special assessment on their property taxes.

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and Saginaw Future Inc. hosted a ceremony this week (June 7) at the New Amadore Apartments in Saginaw.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

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Friday Edition: Offshore Wind, PB&J and Smog

photo goober grape

Flickr via RVWithTito

From Nov. 19 Environment Report on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College.

1.

Michigan legislators including Jeff Mayes of Bay City have unveiled a plan to guide wind energy development in the Great Lakes.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced in the House and Senate, would offer greater community control in the development of offshore wind energy projects.

According to Dan Scripps of Leland, the plan would put a framework in place to attract beneficial wind projects to MIchigan.

Under the legislation, at least four public hearings would be required before an offshore wind project is approved.

The law also would prohibit wind projects from being built within six miles of the Michigan shoreline, unless communities agree to an exemption.

Lawmakers say time is of the essence. They say Michigan needs to pass the guidelines before the end of the year, or risk losing out on development opportunities for offshore wind, and associated jobs.

The legislation is based on recommendations from the Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council, or GLOW.

The council includes Bay County Executive Thomas L. Hickner, and held a public input meeting earlier this year at Saginaw Valley State University.

2.
Are you concerned about climate change?

Try eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Seriously.

According to the PB&J campaign, an online nonprofit, a plant-based lunch like peanut butter and jelly will reduced your carbon footprint by 2.5 pounds of emissions compared to an animal-based lunch like a hamburger or chicken nuggets.

Those 2.5 pounds of emissions at lunch are about 40 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions you’d save driving around for the day in a hybrid instead of a standard sedan.

The PB&J campaign is supported by a registered charity called Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs and can be found at pbjcampaign.org.

Sure, it’s a goofy way of discussing climate change. But the Great Lakes could benefit from more PB&Js, based on predictions from government scientists.

The potential effects of climate change on human health in the Great Lakes region are of concern, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Weather disturbances, drought, and changes in temperature and growing season brought on by climate change could affect crops and food production in the basin. Changes in air pollution patterns as a result of climate change also could affect respiratory health, causing asthma, and new disease vectors and agents could migrate into the region.

— Photo Credit: RVWithTito

3.

The American Lung Association of Michigan is one of a handful of groups in the state to endorse pending EPA pollution limits for smog.

A national coalition of more than 200 public health, advocacy and faith-based groups is endorsing the limits, which they say would save 12,000 lives and prevent tens of thousands of asthma and heart attacks each year.

The groups cite research that shows stronger limits on ozone would do more to protect public health.

Smog, also called ground-level ozone, is connected to emissions from factories, power plants and motor vehicle exhaust, when chemicals react in the presence of sunlight.

Ozone burns lungs and airways, and cause everything from chest pain and coughing to premature death. Children and seniors are particularly vulnerable.

The EPA plans to release a new smog standard by the end of the year. Stricter standards would require businesses to spend billions of dollars on new pollution controls.

Asian carp almost ruined my weekend

photo great lakes torch lake

Ray Jr. walks on the water of Torch Lake.

Where is Mr. Great Lakes? The biggest story of the year just broke. One Asian carp caught in Illinois. Yawn. I already wrote that story, more than once. It’s about as surprising as a sunrise. On to bigger things, like global warming and climate change. I’m going this weekend to some family property near Torch Lake. And my brother-in-law Ray is bound to be shirtless. It’s a sign that global warming needs more attention.

Oh no. Not the same old global warming story. No, this is about “Days of Ray,” as in days Ray (and Ray Jr.) will be shirtless, in years to come, because of rising temperatures brought on by human-induced climate change. If you think one Asian carp is bad, try thinking about the impending effects of climate change on the Great Lakes (and try seeing Ray shirtless).

Don’t just believe me. Believe the scientists. Oh, most of them are just in it for the money, and more research dollars, right?

It turns out that scientists who oppose government policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generally lack the expertise of scientists who warn that human activity is causing global warming, Yale 360 recently pointed out.

Researchers at Stanford University analyzed the publishing background of close to 1,400 academics. Almost all, 97 percent, of published climate scientists agree that human activity is responsible for a warming climate. The scientists who have signed public statements opposing efforts to stave off the worst effects of climate change just don’t have the expertise. Would you hire a transmission guy to fix your brakes? Not me. You’d be able to keep going full-speed ahead, but you’re eventually going to crash.

The findings are consistent with surveys in 2009 and 2004. Remember the warnings galore about Asian carp invading the Great Lakes?

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