Washtenaw County’s Climate Change Plan


NASA’s Climate time machine average 2020 were above 4°F

After surviving an intense summer of storms, flooding, and heatwaves, Washtenaw County’s Board of Commissioners has set out a plan to combat climate change by going carbon neutral by 2035.

After the board’s decision on Wednesday, September 15th to spend $200,000 on funding the planning process. This will include three public meetings in each district, and will take a year to finish after is starting mid-October of this year.

The previous mayor of Chelsea, Melissa Johnson, states that some public policies and sustainability efforts are already in place in our small town of Chelsea.

“Twenty percent of the energy bought and used by Chelsea residents is from renewable energy sources,” Johnson said.

The ambitious actions the city has already taken to combat climate change were wonderful to hear even though the County is still in the early planning process for the climate plan.

“I think that including the community in these plans is one of the most important parts of trying to make this plan successful,” Johnson said.

To guide this climate plan in a positive direction during the early planning period, the plan will require actual planning and cooperation from the citizens of Chelsea and the rest of the citizens of Washtenaw county.

The role this climate plan will play in beginning the implementation of climate policies will be incredibly instrumental for the future of our community. The consequences of not following through on this climate plan are dire, as the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned this August.

“Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered,” the panel said. “Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.”

This statistic shows that even if we cut our emissions today, within the next 50 years the globe’s average temperature will rise between 1.5° and 2° Celsius. The consequences would be dire on our community; more unpredictable weather, loss of nutrient-rich soil, and increased rainfall are all predicted in our community given the current trajectory of global emissions.

Earlier this year, when a six-inch rain event hit Washtenaw county in June, it caused three million dollars in damage. These rainfall statistics are staggering and vital in the debate over the cost of not addressing climate change within our local community.

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners chair Sue Shink said in an interview with WEMU 89.1 that large rain events like the county experienced last summer were “an anomaly, but now they are quite common.”

Our community is already feeling the effects of climate change, this plan being put forth by Washtenaw county would be instrumental in protecting our future and our children’s future.

“If we continue on our current trajectory by the end of the century we can anticipate fifteen inch rain events, this is something our community has never seen before and is not prepared for,” Shink said.