Preparing for and adapting to a world irrevocably changed by climate change requires a multifaceted approach that engages clean energy solutions in the context of the built environment, economic displacement, public health, and environmental and energy justice. University of Michigan researchers are examining these areas, among others, with the goal of highlighting key steps to address this new normal. U-M experts are assessing local climate adaptation plans, examining ways to make ecosystems more resilient, and noting opportunities to deliver affordable, reliable, and clean energy services—especially to lower-income, minority populations who are disproportionately harmed by the climate crisis.
Portico Fall 2021: Larissa Larsen on a new energy landscape
“Meeting the climate challenge means making significant changes to our daily lives. One important component of that change is our energy landscape. Shifting from coal, gas, and natural gas toward cleaner renewables will require building new infrastructure.”
Sustainability Clinic in Detroit to help combat impacts of climate change
The School for Environment and Sustainability has launched the SEAS Sustainability Clinic, which aims to help the city of Detroit and nonprofits serving it address the impacts of climate change on the natural and built environment, human health and city finances, while working to enhance sustainability policy and action.
Global network takes stock of human adaptation to climate change
What actions are we taking to adapt to climate change around the world, and how successful are our efforts? A global network of 126 researchers sought to answer those questions, producing the most systematic and comprehensive assessment of implemented human adaptation to climate change to date.
New guide helps Michigan communities plan for solar energy
As Michigan utilities look to meet clean energy regulations and transition to renewables, a new guide is available to help communities across the state address solar-energy-system, or SES, siting within their planning policies and zoning regulations.
Wildfires, communities and climate change
Communities across the western United States face an existential crisis. As forests become drier and thicker with vegetation, and development encroaches further into forested areas, wildfires grow larger, more frequent and more damaging. U-M experts are working with practitioners across the west to address this growing concern.
Raimi maps U.S. energy economy in new report
How will actions taken towards preventing climate change affect communities that rely on a fossil fuel economy? In a recent report titled "Mapping the US Energy Economy to Inform Transition Planning," Daniel Raimi, Ford School lecturer and fellow at Resources for the Future, explored the economic consequences of moving away from fossil fuels for those communities.
U-M Energy Equity Project to develop first standardized tool for driving equity in clean energy industry
Despite widespread calls for a just transition to cleaner, more resilient energy systems, there isn’t a standardized measurement framework for evaluating the equity of clean energy programs. As a result, utility administrators, regulators, and energy advocates have been judging equity on an ad hoc basis. The Urban Energy Justice Lab at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability announced a new program aimed at addressing this gap.
Gala Learning Case: Great Lakes Climate Adaptation Network
Co-producing climate information improves Great Lakes cities' adaptation to climate change, but how can these partnerships be sustained long-term? One successful model, according to a Gala learning case, is through the Great Lakes Climate Adaptation Network (GLCAN), which has linked a number of organizations together to provide Great Lakes cities with the information they need to adapt.
Mills and Craig selected for Department of Energy grant to study utility-scale solar
Sarah Mills, senior project manager at the Center on Local, State, and Urban Policy, and Michael Craig, assistant professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability, have been selected for a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. The two will research how rural communities in the Great Lakes region learn about and decide whether to zone for utility-scale solar.
Research into action: Hausman’s research key to new legislation
Methane is the primary component of natural gas, a greenhouse gas with 34 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. More than one percent of methane in the U.S. supply chain escapes into the atmosphere, much of which is caused by degraded pipes and loose-fitting components during distribution of natural gas. Ford School professor Catherine Hausman’s research has been cited as the primary influence of a law that passed in Washington state to address the problem.
U-M, community partners tackle energy insecurity in three Detroit neighborhoods
Some Detroiters spend up to 30% of their monthly income on home energy bills, a sky-high rate that places the city among the Top 10 nationally in a category that researchers call household energy burden. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the situation, adding financial challenges that make it increasingly difficult for many low- and moderate-income residents to pay their utility bills.
Research group looks to encourage energy conservation
Buildings accounted for 98.5 percent of total Ann Arbor campus energy use during fiscal year 2019, and one U-M research team has been exploring ways to better enable energy efficiency projects in existing buildings.
Research group evaluating biosequestration potential on U-M lands
Biosequestration relies on the natural ability of living organisms and biological processes to capture carbon. The biosequestration internal analysis team, part of the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, has been working for several months to evaluate the biosequestration of university-owned lands.
A dangerous future: Climate change, Michiganders’ health
As the world grows warmer and the region grows wetter, extreme heat and rain will cause more people to die or become ill—a costly burden in terms of lives lost and health care costs to the state of Michigan, a new report says.
Why removing CO2 from the air won’t be enough
Pulling carbon dioxide out of the air using a technology called “direct air capture,” or DAC, will not be the silver bullet for curbing climate change that some hoped it would be, according to new research from U-M.
U-M researchers testing ways to make aspen-dominated forests resilient to climate change
In an aspen-dominated hardwood forest at the northern tip of the state’s Lower Peninsula, U-M scientists are testing ways to make the region’s forests more resilient to climate change. About 12,000 mature trees—mostly aspen—are being cut on 77 acres at the U-M Biological Station, a 10,000-acre research and teaching facility just south of the Mackinac Bridge, near the town of Pellston.
Tackling climate change in Michigan
“I think we're getting our handle on adaptation,” said School for Environment and Sustainability Dean Jonathan Overpeck. “That's a big focus of our efforts here at the University of Michigan and elsewhere around the state. But adaptation will only get you so far. What we really want is a strong, resilient, and sustainable economy for this state.”
Energy access is not created equal. This Ann Arbor organization is trying to change that
There are three tenets of energy justice. The first is distributional justice, which focuses on the benefits and burdens of energy generation. The second is procedural justice, which considers access to participation in the energy decision-making process. The third is recognition justice, which is the identification of energy injustices affecting specific populations.