The purpose of this letter is to help build political will for action on climate change in our state by showing the many influential people, businesses, communities and community leaders, and organizations that want our decision makers to work with urgency on solutions to climate change. This letter was modeled after a letter that was very effective in building support for climate action among Florida Members of Congress.
We now have nearly 40 signers, including Jim MacInnes, President and CEO of Crystal Mountain resort; Bob Sutherland, President and Owner of Cherry Republic; and the Mayors of the City of Traverse City and the City of Ann Arbor. See below for the current list of signers.
Once a significant number of signatures are collected, we will present it to Michigan Members of Congress and state lawmakers.
Please sign on, and share the letter with others you know who want more action to address climate change!
Michigan Leaders’ Letter to Congress and State Lawmakers
To: Michigan Delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, Michigan Governor, Michigan Legislature, and Michigan Attorney General
RE: Open Letter Requesting Action to Address Climate Impacts
Dear Michigan Congressional Delegation and State Lawmakers,
We believe it is time for Michigan’s elected leaders to acknowledge that escalating climate impacts pose a serious threat to our state’s economic stability and the health and safety of its citizens. Current efforts to mitigate change in climate are insufficient to avoid major negative consequences. Therefore, we request that you support solutions to protect the interests of all the people and businesses of Michigan from this threat. Please consider:
- Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists are convinced, based upon the evidence, that human actions have warmed the atmosphere and oceans causing our climate to change.
- Michigan is already experiencing climate change impacts and they are expected to worsen in the next several decades. According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment Report, climate impacts in Michigan include increased heat wave intensity and frequency, more extreme rainfall events and flooding, and changes to our forests and certain fish species. These combined stresses are leading to detrimental effects like crop failures and decreased agricultural productivity; increased invasive species, reduced ice cover, and more toxic blooms of algae in the Great Lakes; and sewage overflows that contaminate our waterways and put increased stress on aging infrastructure in our cities.
- A 2015 joint report by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and University of Michigan scientists found that current and predicted future impacts of climate change are detrimental to the health of Michigan citizens, especially children and senior citizens. The report documents increases in respiratory illnesses, vector-borne diseases like West Nile Virus, and water related diseases in certain areas from sewage and septic failures and from toxic algae blooms.
- Climate impacts are disproportionately impacting the health, safety and economic stability of low-income and minority communities. People with lower incomes living in urban areas are especially at risk from exposure to extreme heat, and are less equipped to recover from extreme weather events that damage their homes and property. A warming climate intensifies allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems from air pollution, sources of which are often located near low-income, minority communities.
- Businesses of all sizes and from all sectors face serious economic risks because of climate change. Disruptions to supply chains, increasing insurance premiums, escalating energy costs and lost productivity due to power outages are all concerns. Additional public sector expenditures on hardening our infrastructure will be borne in large part by businesses due to weather disasters.
- Action on climate has co-benefits including reduced air and water pollution, and improved public health.
- The U.S. Department of Defense recognizes climate change as a threat multiplier in unstable regions in the world.
- There are effective response options for Congress and State leaders to consider, which can be economically prudent, politically viable, and scientifically sound. Such options could substantially lessen future impacts.
- Michigan is well positioned to benefit economically, including more jobs, from action to reduce emissions while remaining a leader in technological solutions such as our growing solar and wind industries.
- Businesses will benefit from greater certainty regarding policies to address this problem.
- The longer we wait to act on climate, the greater, and more irreversible, will be the harm done.
- The world’s major faith groups and religious leaders have all made powerful statements saying that climate change is real and that we have a moral responsibility to take action to correct it.
In light of the above, we urge you to support meaningful discussions and actions on climate that lead to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The United States and Michigan must lead in solutions to this global problem that affects all of us.
Respectfully submitted by:
John Austin, President, Michigan State Board of Education
Jim MacInnes, President and CEO, Crystal Mountain Resort
Bob Sutherland, President and Owner, Cherry Republic
Peter Tchoryk, CEO, Michigan Aerospace Corporation
Stephen Nance, General Manager, Oryana Community Cooperative
Kris Spaulding, Owner, Brewery Vivant
Edward Ficaro, PhD, President, INVIA Medical Imaging Solutions
G. Tim Neyer, Corporate Environmental Management System Coordinator, American Mitsuba Corporation
David M. Stevens, Senior Vice President, American Mitsuba Corporation
Phil Roos, CEO, Great Lakes GrowthWorks
Christopher Taylor, Mayor, City of Ann Arbor
Jim Carruthers, Mayor, City of Traverse City
C. Farmer, M.D., Former Mayor of Ypsilanti
George Heartwell, Former Mayor of Grand Rapids
Timothy Werner, Commissioner, City of Traverse City
Gary Howe, Commissioner, City of Traverse City
Zachary Ackerman, City Council Member, City of Ann Arbor
Julie Grand, City Council Member, City of Ann Arbor, Member of Ann Arbor Environmental Commission, Member of Ann Arbor Energy Commission
Chuck Warpehoski, City Council Member, City of Ann Arbor
Chip Smith, AICP, City Council Member, City of Ann Arbor, Member of Ann Arbor Environmental Commission, Member of Ann Arbor Energy Commission
Andy LaBarre, Commissioner, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners
Yousef Rabhi, Commissioner, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners
Dr. Juan Olivarez, PhD, President, Aquinas College
Dr. Kathleen Potempa, PhD, Professor, University of Michigan
Dr. David Karowe, PhD, Professor of Biological Sciences, Western Michigan University
Robert Hansen, Head of School, The Pathfinder School
William Stough, President, Sustainable Research
Dennis J. McCauley, President and Principle Research Scientist, Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc.
Stan Smith, MD, President, Northern Michigan Medical Society
David S. McGreaham, MD, Physician, Munson Medical Center
Skip Pruss, Principal, 5 Lakes Energy and Former Director, Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth
Douglas McInnis, President, Northport Energy Action Taskforce, Inc.
Harry Burkholder, Executive Director, LIAA
Terry Link, Peace Education Center
Reverend Dr. Donald P. Kreiss, Bishop, Southeast Michigan Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
Reverend Craig Satterlee, Bishop, North/West Lower Michigan Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
Karen M. Donahue, RSM, Justice Coordinator, Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community
Sister Mary Brigid Clingman, OP, Creation Care Committee, Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids