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World-renowned scientist, Detroit business leaders chart course to mitigate climate change in Michigan

A “Climate For All of Us” discussion highlighted ways conservation and industry can work together to build a brighter future for all Michiganders

The suns sets behind the Detroit skyline.
Detroit The sun sets behind the Detroit, Michigan skyline. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

Katharine Hayhoe, The Nature Conservancy’s chief scientist, and Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE Energy, today outlined commonsense solutions to mitigate climate change in Michigan. The two spoke at “A Climate For All of Us,” a discussion moderated by Cynthia Williams, global director, sustainability, homologation and compliance, Ford Motor Company and sponsored by Inforum, Sustainable Business Network of Detroit, and The Nature Conservancy.

“Climate change is a very real problem impacting Michigan, from Corktown to the Keweenaw Peninsula, and all points in between. Over the last several years climate change has brought summer droughts, heavy fall rains and early spring frosts to Michigan, which have damaged crops across rural Michigan and flooded homes in Detroit,” Hayhoe said. “In Michigan, The Nature Conservancy has stepped up to address the effects of climate change in cities, farms and forests across the state by creating sustainable solutions to manage storm water runoff, improving soil health to grow better crops and protect drinking water, and implementing strategies to keep our forests healthy and strong. I am encouraging all Michiganders to have real conversations about climate change because together we can go far.”

TNC in Michigan collaborates with business, the agricultural and forest sectors, environmental and conservation groups, government, and local communities across the state for the benefit of both people and nature.

“It’s going to take economy-wide solutions to combat climate change. I am proud to stand with Katharine Hayhoe, the science community, and other business leaders across the state as we take meaningful steps to protect our land and Great Lakes,” said DTE Energy President and CEO Jerry Norcia. “DTE was among the first energy companies in the country to announce carbon reduction goals, and we continue to accelerate our plans as we work with business partners and customers to reduce emissions in the most equitable and affordable way to mitigate climate change.”

In 2020, DTE announced an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from residential and small business customers by 6 million metric tons a year by 2050. That amounts to removing 1.3 million cars from the road.

Climate change is already taking a significant toll on Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Rising temperatures exacerbate algal blooms in Lake Erie, leading to bacteria-polluted drinking water in Toledo, Ohio, which impacts more than 500,000 people. It’s also affecting Michigan’s $13 billion a year agriculture industry.

“At Inforum, our goal is to empower women — from corporate leaders to small business owners and entrepreneurs — to make lasting change in their communities, and there is no greater issue to address today in our communities than climate change,” said Terry Barclay, president and CEO of Inforum, and chair of SBN Detroit. “The business community has a pivotal role to play in mitigating climate change, which is why this TNC-SBN Detroit-sponsored discussion is so important to plotting a course towards real climate change solutions in Michigan.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.