Michigan Needs Bold Climate Action, Congress Must Act Now.

President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda Will Reignite Michigan’s Economy While Protecting Communities from the Worst Effects of Climate Change

Clean Energy Investment Means Jobs For Michigan. Transitioning to a 100% clean energy economy will help Michigan’s economic recovery by putting tens of thousands of people to work building clean energy sources, making buildings and homes more energy efficient, and protecting the state’s natural beauty and Great Lakes.

  • Michigan is already a clean energy jobs leader, ranking 6th nationally in clean energy employment, and the state has significant untapped opportunities to expand it’s growing clean energy industry, especially in generating renewable energy.
    • Michigan is home to 113,456 jobs in the clean energy sector.
    • Michigan ranks 2nd in the nation for rural clean energy employment. In 2020, Michigan had a total of 22,574 rural clean energy jobs, representing almost 20% of all clean energy jobs in the state.
    • Small businesses drive the state’s clean energy sector. In 2020, 78% of Michigan’s clean energy businesses employed fewer than 20 individuals.
    • Michigan’s clean  energy sector grew 20.4% in the  second half of 2020, exceeding the state’s overall job growth rate and showing the resiliency of the industry. 
    • The shift toward EVs brought Michigan 24,268 new jobs in the advanced transportation sector.
  • Of the Great Lakes states, Michigan has the greatest potential for offshore wind energy. Offshore wind could generate three-quarters of Michigan’s predicted electricity by 2050.
  • Federal investments in clean energy would be a jolt to Michigan’s clean energy economy, creating thousands of new good-paying jobs. Federal clean energy stimulus investments totaling $99.2 billion could generate 28,798 jobs in Michigan per year over a 5 year period.
    • Michigan is among the top 10 states in terms of jobs created by potential investments in grid modernization and energy efficiency. 

Michiganders Are On The Front Lines Of The Climate Crisis. Dangerous extreme weather has become increasingly common throughout Michigan as heavy downpours, record flooding, and droughts threaten Michiganders’ lives and livelihoods. Ensuring the Great Lakes are healthy is paramount to Michigan’s culture, economy and way of life. Michigan has serious long-term issues with clean water – evidenced in lead contamination and PFAS pollution leaving communities like Flint without safe drinking water. Michiganders also breathe some of the nation’s most polluted air. 

  • From 2010 to 2020, Michigan experienced 20 extreme weather events that cost at least a billion dollars each, totaling $99.4 billion in damages.
  • By 2050, Michigan is projected to see the severity of widespread summer drought triple, with potentially devastating impacts for the state’s agriculture industry.
    • The 2021 drought affected Michigan farm crops including wine grapes, apple and cherry trees and blueberries. The state’s sugar maple trees, which produce maple syrup, are also predicted to come under stress from warmer, drier growing seasons.
  • Scientists have linked an increase in heavy downpours to climate change. In the last decade, Michigan has experienced severe flooding events that caused a total of at least $12 billion in damages and 5 deaths.
    • 20 toxic sites in Michigan are at risk of flooding and releasing contaminants due to climate change.
    • In May 2020, scientists and activists raised concern that floodwaters that overwhelmed two dams in Midland may have swept away progress on cleaning up an EPA superfund site polluted with dioxins from a Dow Chemical Co. plant. 
  • In 2020, Michigan saw its first cyclone, Tropical Depression Cristobal, cross over Lake Superior, causing more than 55,000 power outages statewide. 
  • In 2020, eight counties in Michigan received an F grade for ozone pollution, and Detroit was ranked the 12th worst city in America for particle pollution. 
  • The Flint lead water crisis became a rallying cry for environmental justice and clean water access. The lead crisis in Michigan goes beyond Flint – 13 water systems across Michigan recently tested positive for lead, and the rate of lead exposure among children rose 28% in Detroit in 2016.
  • Michigan has more PFAS sites than any other state in the nation, impacting clean drinking water for more than 1.5 million residents. More than 11,000 sites in the state that may be contaminated. 
    • Major systems that draw water from the Great Lakes like SaginawGrand Rapids and Wyoming, as well as groundwater systems like Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, which draws primarily from the Huron River, have known PFAS contamination.
    • PFAS chemicals, which do not break down, have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, hypertension, and other diseases.
  • The Great Lakes have been experiencing blooms of toxic algae as a result of pollution driven by heavy rains running off into water sources and feeding the algae that thrives in warming water temperatures. 
    • An estimated 40 million people rely on the Great Lakes for drinking water.
    • Heavier spring rains, and more violent storms, will contribute to nutrient runoff from farm fields, a key driver of algae blooms in places like western Lake Erie.

The Climate Crisis And Toxic Pollution Disproportionately Affect People Of Color. Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities are hit hardest by extreme weather and impacted by decades of legacy pollution. Investing in clean energy and directly in these communities is essential to end environmental injustice and ensure new opportunities for frontline and fenceline communities.

  • In 2020, the Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor metropolitan area ranked the 12th worst city in America for year round particle pollution, the 38th most polluted city by ozone, and the 37th most polluted city for 24-hour particle pollution. 
  • African American and Latinos in Michigan have suffered the burden of air pollution for decades. Counties like Wayne County are the epicenter of a pollution crisis that has resulted in at least 70 deaths each year.
    • A study by Harvard University researchers found an 8 percent increase in COVID-19 deaths per single-unit rise in fine particle pollution. Another study found long-term exposure to pollution particles raises COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions by around 10 percent, and deaths by 15 percent. 
  • The most polluted ZIP code in Michigan, 48217, is 81% Black. Four of the five most polluting refineries in Michigan are within five miles of this ZIP code.
  • The Flint lead water crisis became a rallying cry for environmental justice and clean water access. As of 2020, 15% of Flint’s lead pipes still had not been replaced and some communities in Flint remained without access to clean water.
    • The Flint water crisis has continued into 2021, with an estimated 500 homes still requiring pipeline replacement. 
  • Michigan tribes have led the fight to shut down the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, which has spilled at least 29 times and over 1 million tons of oil into the Great Lakes.

Climate Change Threatens Michigan. Inaction Is Not Only Expensive, It’s Not An Option. Studies show Michigan will suffer severely from the effects of climate change. Michiganders’ health, safety, and economic vitality are all at risk.

  • Climate change is estimated to cost Michigan over $5.1 billion a year by the year 2100.  
  • Farmers are already being hit hard and it’s projected to get worse. Climate change is projected to cause a 1.58% loss in crop yields in Michigan, including a 19% loss in grains. 
  • Extreme heat is on the rise and Michiganders are getting sick and dying. Emergency department visits due to extreme heat are likely to increase from 1,200 to 7,800 per year by 2070, according to a University of Michigan study. 
  • A 2021 study found that 47% of homes in Detroit had no or partial access air conditioning.
    • The same study found that Detroit’s cooling centers can only accommodate 1% to 2% of the city’s population, placing people at risk as temperatures rise.
    • People of color are more likely to suffer the consequences of climate through urban heat islands which refers to locations within a city that experience much higher temperatures due to the legacies of racist urban planning and development policies. Warmer temperatures from heat islands result in higher energy costs, increased air pollution and more heat-related illnesses.
  • The costs of dealing with rising water levels on the Great Lakes is already impacting Michigan’s coastal communities, with South Haven recently spending $16 million on damages along the Lake Michigan coastline. High water on the Great Lakes has also flooded beaches and marinas, impacting tourism in the state.

Michiganders Want Bold Solutions. Regardless of political affiliation, Michiganders overwhelmingly support strong investments in clean energy. Scientists’ warnings are playing out in Michiganders’ backyards, and they need Congress to dramatically reduce emissions and halt the worst of the climate crisis.