Michigan scientists studying the effects of global climate change say a budget bill passed by the U.S. House threatens the long-term health of the region. It would strip the federal Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
"There's quite a bit of very strong evidence that, if carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are not regulated by EPA, then our region and, of course, other regions in the world are very likely to experience massive heat waves like the one Chicago experienced in '95 and, even worse, Europe experienced in 2003, and, of course, other disastrous weather events like floods and droughts," says Dave Karowe, a professor of biological sciences at Western Michigan University.
Karowe is one of about 160 Michigan scientists who have signed a letter asking Congress to let the EPA continue to regulate greenhouse gases.
Other scientists warn of harmful effects to agriculture and to the Great Lakes, if emissions were to go unregulated.
"Michigan scientists want our leaders in Congress to use science, that's part of the reason we do it, to establish good public policy, and to use scientists as a resource for information as they move forward through this issue," says Chemistry Chair Sarah Green from Michigan Technological University.
Green studies Lake Superior, where summer water temperatures continue to rise. She says the change is likely to bring more invasive species, harmful algal blooms and lower lake levels.