Advance Notice: Briefs

Trump report: Rising temps could hurt Michigan farmers, Great Lakes

By: - December 4, 2018 5:48 am

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A new report from the Trump administration says rising temperatures over the next century will pose serious consequences for the United States and the world.

For Michigan, that may mean hotter summers, forest damage, poorer air quality and more disease-carrying mosquitoes, according to the report. Temperatures in the broader Midwest are projected to rise more than in any other state during the growing season, the report said.

The White House-backed report differs sharply from President Donald Trump’s own views on climate change. After its release, Trump told reporters he doesn’t “believe” that climate change could devastate the economy and has in the past actively derided climate science assessments.

“Right now we’re at the cleanest we’ve ever been,” Trump said. “But if we’re clean and every other place is dirty, that’s not so good. So I want clean air, clean water. Very important.”

But rising temperatures are a reality that could have repercussions for the more than 51,000 Michigan farms that grow everything from tart cherries and asparagus to tomatoes, potatoes and corn.

Michigan employs roughly 22 percent of its workforce — almost 100,000 people — in agriculture, food processing and related industries, which contribute an annual $101.2 billion to the state economy, according to the Michigan Farm Bureau.

Global warming could also cause rising temperatures in the Great Lakes, which could impact some lake species, potentially wiping some out altogether.

The 1,656-page congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment report involved 13 federal agencies and concluded that unchecked climate change will shrink the U.S. economy by 10 percent by the end of the century.

In the Midwest, rising temperatures could also mean massive crop failures and more flooding. Elsewhere, wildfires like those seen in California and other West Coast states will worsen, as will other natural disasters along the East Coast.

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Michael Gerstein
Michael Gerstein

Michael Gerstein is a former Advance reporter covering the Governor's office, criminal justice and the environment.