Michigan scientists: Carbon capping policies vital

By Anna Austin
Posted May 20, 2009, at 11:20 a.m. CST

More than 150 Michigan scientists, researchers and academia signed a letter urging Michigan's congressional delegation to support federal policies to reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions.

The letter was delivered to Michigan's U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and 15 U.S. representatives. Signers included nearly 70 scientists and professors from the University of Michigan, and more than 60 from Michigan State University, with expertise in biology, agriculture, chemistry, forestry, zoology, meteorology and climatology.

"We are convinced that immediate action is necessary to avoid the worst consequences of global warming on Michigan's economy and environment, including the Great Lakes," the letter stated. "While slowing the damaging effects of climate change poses enormous challenges, we also believe such action presents Michigan with real opportunities to reinvigorate our economy and improve the quality of life for all Michiganders."

The letter emphasized that controlling carbon emissions will help take advantage of clean renewable resources and energy efficient technologies. "A workable federal policy to combat global warming will also encourage researchers, investors and businesses to accelerate development and deployment of next generation energy technologies," it said. "Putting a price on carbon is a critical step toward building clean energy future for the U.S. and in Michigan."

The letter recognized that recent studies have shown that capping carbon pollution and promoting energy efficiency could create millions of jobs nationally and more than 150,000 jobs in Michigan. Also, agriculture is the state's second largest industry and contributes $60.1 billion to the state's economy annually and provides more than 1 million jobs. Many of the jobs and much of the economic impact provided by Michigan's agriculture industry could be lost if climate change continues, according to the scientists.

"Michigan universities are leaders in agriculture and bioenergy research, and Michigan farmers stand to gain from federal policy that promotes renewable energy and caps carbon pollution," the letter said. "Farms, for instance, could realize new revenue by leasing land for wind turbines and assigning unproductive cropland to carbon offset programs and producing biomass for next generation renewable fuels."

To view the letter, visit http://www.byrumfisk.com/scientists_presspacket_051909.pdf.