MDP Environmental Caucus Statement on IPCC Report
August 10, 2021
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on the physical science of climate change Monday, August 9, 2021. This report tells us, through evidence-based scenarios, that we are likely to exceed our climate targets without rapid decarbonization. Michigan is committed to achieving carbon neutrality, but this report shows that these goals must be more ambitious to mitigate disaster. The science is clear that the bulk of our energy transition must take place within the next nine years.
Michiganders already face the impacts of climate change. Severe flooding, heat, and cold tax both regional infrastructures, such as bridges, and water systems as well as resident resources through heating and cooling costs. From flooded basements to flooded freeways and dam failures, tragic incidents have become regular occurrences. These impacts can be deadly.
The dangers posed by fossil fuels and unsustainable infrastructure are threats we face every day. Pollution to air, water, and soil has serious consequences ranging from respiratory and cardiovascular strain to crippling tourism loss due to devastating coastline damages. Michigan’s bad actors have created zip codes that carry toxic burdens nearly 50 times greater than the state average. The Line 5 pipeline, operating in defiance of our Governor’s orders, could catastrophically ruin the Great Lakes at any moment.
Preventing severe climate change in the future will reap immediate benefits for people and businesses. We are proud to support legislation such as House Bills 4715 and 4716 that will create new good-paying jobs and invest in community solar energy. Expanding wind and solar in our state by ending subsidies for fossil fuels and instead investing in clean energy jobs will pull our nation forward while improving public health today.
However, limiting warming to manageable levels will require thinking beyond carbon neutrality. The recent IPCC report makes it clearer than ever that pulling greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is essential to maintaining a safe climate. We will also need to work together to strengthen our floodwater management and agricultural practices to meet the problems global warming is creating for Michigan families today.
The IPCC report is a wake-up call. It’s time to do the work.