Protect our planet from global warming

Author: Sen. Debbie Stabenow

Some call it climate change. Some call it global warming. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe has a better term. She calls it “global weirding.”

Things are getting weird here in Michigan.

Lake Superior is getting about two degrees warmer each decade. As the waters warm, invasive species like sea lamprey grow and kill off more trout, salmon and other native fish – threatening the Great Lakes’ $8 billion recreational fishery.

How global warming changes the weather

A warmer planet can also cause cold snaps. As the arctic warms, scientists believe the atmosphere is less able to keep cold air where it belongs. That’s when we get a “Polar Vortex” like we saw in January. Here in Lansing, it was 14 degrees below zero – cold enough to cause frostbite in less than 30 minutes.

Climate change is also making our weather more intense.

Ask any meteorologist – a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture. That means heavier snows and more rain over a shorter period of time – a recipe for catastrophic storms.

If you don’t believe me, ask insurance company executives. Their companies paid out a record $135 billion from natural catastrophes in 2017 alone – almost three times as much as the historic annual average.

What’s being done to stop global warming

Climate change is real. It’s already having real effects in Michigan. And we can and must take real action to do something about it.

Michigan has always been the state of innovation. Fueled by oil and coal, we led the Industrial Revolution. Now we need to be leaders again – of a green industrial revolution that will reduce carbon pollution, help reverse the damage that’s already been done and create good jobs here at home.

I’m working with my colleagues on policies to ensure that the United States – not China – is the global leader on advanced transportation technologies like electric and hydrogen vehicles.

And we need to invest more in renewable energy and the research that is making it more affordable all the time. A modern wind turbine has about 8,000 parts, and we can build every part here in Michigan.

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