GM's climate cred, let there be LED light, and solar on farmland

Issue # 5 | June 9, 2019 | PLUS Great Lakes levels are high. For now.

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Detroit | GM’s climate cred, Dems talk climate in Detroit, there will be (LED) light, and it’s all ‘One Water’

GM’s climate cred | General Motors chairman and chief executive officer Mary Barra says that GM heeds climate science and has to be a part of the solution. How? Plants powered by renewable energy, more fuel-efficient SUVs, autonomous vehicle rideshares, and an all-electric vehicle future. In March, GM announced it would invest $300 million in its Orion Township plant that builds the electric Chevrolet Bolt cars. (The Detroit Bureau, Automotive News)

GM, FCA buy Tesla’s GHG credits | So how is Elon Musk funding Tesla these days? Apparently, at least in part with the help of Fiat Chrysler and GM. Both automakers reported that they purchased greenhouse gas credits from Tesla. Why? Possibly to hedge against potentially intensifying U.S. environmental regulations, particularly if a Democrat is elected in 2020. (Bloomberg).

Can’t we all agree? | Speaking of environmental regulations, 17 of the world’s largest carmakers asked President Trump this week to work with California on a uniform standard for greenhouse gas emissions. Trump wants to roll back Obama-era regulations that would drive the nation toward California’s stricter standard. While automakers say Obama’s regs are too onerous, they also say Trump’s proposed changes would cause instability. Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler, ask the automakers, if we could all meet somewhere in the middle? Trump said no. (NPR, LA Times)

Dems visit Detroit, talk climate, DNC seeks to shut down debate | Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Jay Inslee were in Detroit this week touting their climate platform bonafides. Inslee brought his ”Climate Mission Tour'“ to a southwest Detroit neighborhood adjacent to the Marathon oil refinery, while Warren spoke on her “economic patriotism” plan to a crowd at Focus: HOPE. Inslee, who says he has the better climate plan (Greenpeace agrees), wanted to devote one of the 12 democratic presidential primary debates to the topic. The Democratic National Committee rejected his request this week and warned Inslee it would ban him from primary debates if he engages in any unofficial candidate debate on the subject. (Freep, Detroit News, Greenpeace, Politico, New York Times)

Let there be LED lights | Fear not the dark, for the City of Detroit is going ahead with replacing 25,000 energy-efficient but defective LED lights even as it sues manufacturer Leotek for the expected $10 million it will cost. The city will work on thoroughfares first, then neighborhoods. (Michigan Radio, Crains Detroit Business)

Green master plans unveiled | Green spaces feature prominently in two recently unveiled master plans for the cultural district and Wayne State University. (Detroit News, Curbed Detroit)

Parks planning underway | Jefferson Chalmers residents met to weigh in on the future of a park and community center ahead of expected Penske investment, while nonprofit NW Goldberg Cares aims to create an art park out of a blighted lot via crowdfunding. (Model D)

One love, one water? | SEMCOG unveiled its “One Water” advertising campaign this week in partnership with the Freshwater Forum at the Cranbrook Institute of Science and the Great Lakes Water Authority. The campaign aims to integrate public education around drinking water, storm water, and waste water, and includes videos, tip cards and social media content. Our favorite? The one with the poop emoji, of course. (Press release)

Michigan | Consumers Energy plan to close coal plants approved, now farms can build solar, expect Great Lakes chaos

Goodbye, coal plants | Consumers Energy’s plan for the future was approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission Friday. Under the plan, the utility will close two coal plants ahead of schedule and replace their capacity with renewable energy sources. (Detroit News)

Solar allowed on farmland | An administrative rule by the Whitmer administration means farms enrolled in the state’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program can now build commercial solar panels on their land. The program, which provides tax incentives for farmers who agree not to develop their land, previously restricted solar development (wind turbines and cell phone towers were allowed). Installations must preserve soil fertility and create pollinator-friendly habitat beneath the arrays. (MLive)

Water level lunacy | Forget the Goldilocks-era of “just right” water levels in the Great Lakes, according to two University of Michigan scientists. As the climate continues to warm, lake levels will swing more dramatically between highs and lows, and snow and rain will hit harder in some areas and at certain times. Meanwhile, Leland’s Fishtown was underwater this week. (The Conversation, MLive)

See | Insta-photo pick

Thanks to potagerdetroit for sharing the wonder of microclover. We do hate picking weeds.

Tag your photos of metro Detroit’s great outdoors on @planetdetroitnews on Instagram to be considered for this spot.

Our picks: Read, watch, listen

Read | Does thinking about the environment make you crazy? Maybe that’s because you’re not crazy>>>

Watch | National Geographic’s “Short Film Showcase” spotlights the work of urban beekeepers in Detroit >>>

Listen | Mindful travel in the age of climate change>>>

Connect | Engage with Detroit’s environment

Have an opportunity you’d like to see featured here? Let us know.

June 11 | Working with Lots Workshop Series: Maintaining Perennials + Trees | Detroit >>>

June 15 | ECN Neighborhood Sustainability Tour & Happy Hour!| Detroit >>>

June 22 | Macomb County Master Gardener Association Garden Tour | Clinton Township >>>

June 28 | Jobbie Nooner | Lake St. Clair >>>

July 6 | Tour native residential landscapes | Novi >>>

July 14 | Detroit Kite Festival | Belle Isle >>>

July 13 | Lavender Harvest Festival | Milan >>>

July 18 | Learn how to plant a butterfly garden | Mount Clemens >>>

July 20 | Native bee walk & talk | Detroit >>>

July 27 | Mushroom Walk | Royal Oak >>>

August 28 | Urban agriculture bike tour | Detroit >>>

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