The Rapidian

WMEAC Presents Grand Rapids Climate Resiliency Report Findings

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Grand Rapids Climate Resiliency Report shows that Grand Rapids will be affected by climate change in the near term.
WMEAC volunteers fill sandbags after the 2013 Grand Rapids Flood

WMEAC volunteers fill sandbags after the 2013 Grand Rapids Flood

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For more information about the report visit wmeac.org/climate-resiliency-report/. For the downloadable .pdf of the entire report with links and citations download at bit.ly/GRClimateResiliencyReport

WMEAC presenting the Climate Resiliency Report to Grand Rapids City Commission

WMEAC presenting the Climate Resiliency Report to Grand Rapids City Commission

Today, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) presented the Grand Rapids Climate Resiliency Report which outlines the current condition of Grand Rapids climate resiliency and offers recommendations as to how the City of Grand Rapids can both impact and adapt to climate change. The report originated from a grant the City of Grand Rapids received in 2012, when Mayor George Heartwell was recognized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the City’s efforts in confronting climate change. 

The goal of the report is to both spur a larger community conversation around processes that will enable Grand Rapids to become a more climate resilient city, and to spur many specific, long and near term projects, policies, programs and plans to mitigate the effects of climate change. Nick Occhipinti, Policy Director at WMEAC said, "typically cities are working on reports that focus on one issue area, like energy or water. However, with this report it was important to show the inconnectedness of all these issues, something we are calling the 'climate knot' and it's these knots that make climate change such a complex issue".

In the report, WMEAC was able to forecast, with the help of Elena Lioubimtseva of GVSU, that by 2022 without making any changes the temperatures will rise 2.6% and by 2042 will rise by 8.5% or 4.4 degrees fahrenheit along with hotter and longer dry seasons in the summer. “While the 4 degrees doesn’t sound like a lot the affects to the climate are more damaging than the weather, and that is a message we need to spread”, commented Second Ward Commissioner Ruth Kelly.

However along with these findings, the report also outlines small near term solutions that Grand Rapids can work with in order to curb climate change or adapt to it. Some of those recommendations include investing in green space and improving our cities tree canopy, begin working on improving our cities energy autonomy, and implement green street infrastructure materials and maintenance techniques. 

Mayor Heartwell, who is currently sitting on President Obama's Taskforce on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, said, "this Resiliency Report is an exceptional piece of work that has already helped me in the White House's Task Force recommendations, and I’ll be sure to put it in the hands of my fellow Task Force members. The report is on the leading edge nation wide when it comes to the scope and nature of this report."

The report can be viewed in it's entirety online at bit.ly/GRClimateResiliencyReport

The report was written by the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and edited by Redline Language Services, LLC.

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