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Report: Climate Change is Changing Michigan Businesses

Michigan manufactures say their plants and supply chains are growing more vulnerable to severe weather, here and abroad. (AcrylicArtist/morguefile)
Michigan manufactures say their plants and supply chains are growing more vulnerable to severe weather, here and abroad. (AcrylicArtist/morguefile)
February 19, 2018

DETROIT — Michigan companies are having to deal with the effects of a changing climate, and a new report says that is sending ripples through the state's economy.

The report from the nonprofit group Business Forward found manufacturers, investors, and small business owners are reevaluating parts of their business plans due to extreme weather. Detroit-based event planner Marshell Germany said major temperature fluctuations and severe weather wreak havoc on large, outdoor events like Detroit's Winter Blast.

She said even indoor events, like auto shows, are affected when weather causes transportation problems, or changes prices for food and other commodities.

"The insurance that we secure for events, that price increases substantially,” Germany said. “So we're making crisis plans, and 'Plan Bs,' just based all on weather change."

The report looked at companies of all sizes across many sectors of the state's economy, including automotive, agriculture, and hospitality. It also examined the economic opportunities and jobs that a switch to clean energy would bring to Michigan.

While Germany said she recognizes there is a cost associated with transitioning the state away from its dependence on fossil fuels and working to cut carbon emissions in other ways, she believes policymakers can't afford not to act on climate change.

"They can't just sit back and say that, 'Oh, it doesn't have an impact,’” she said. “No, it has a direct impact on every single business, on every single decision and choice that we make every day."

The report said severe weather also has an impact on some of the state's biggest competitive advantages, including its fast-moving global supply chain and access to the Great Lakes.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI