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Posted on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 8:50 a.m.

University of Michigan to host town hall on climate change

By Kellie Woodhouse


The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw breaks ice in Lake Superior this 2007 photo. A draft climate assessment predicts that current problems in the Great Lakes — such as invasive species and "dead zones" — will be exacerbated.

AP file photo

About 100 climate change experts from the Midwest will gather at the University of Michigan for a National Climate Assessment town hall.

The experts are expected to discuss a recently released draft of the an assessment of the nation's climate, which looks at the key impacts of climate change on every region of the country and analyzes its likely effects on human health, water, energy, transportation, agriculture, forest, ecosystems and biodiversity.

The recent assessment asserts that, in the Midwest, climate change will lead to intense heat waves while degrading air and water quality and threatening public health. It also predicts that intense rainstorms and floods will become more common in the region, and current problems in the Great Lakes — such as invasive species and "dead zones" — will be exacerbated, according to a U-M news release.

The meeting will be held Tuesday at Palmer Commons. It is sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is one of a series of town halls being held across the country.

Registration for the event is closed, but it will be streamed live online.

"By the end of this century, parts of the Midwest could have a month or more of temperatures over 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Summers here will feel much more like present-day Arkansas," Rosina Bierbaum, U-M professor of natural resources and environment and environmental health sciences, said in a release, encouraging people to watch the town hall online. Bierbaum was a lead convening author of the adaptation chapter.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Roger Kuhlman

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

Are these 'experts' going to all stick their heads in the ground and quietly ignore national and global human overpopulation as the major cause of climate change?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

Macabre Sunset, you speak of a degree or 2 as though it isn't much, but it's enough to melt the glaciers and Greenland, kill off species, and start the rise of the oceans. More than 2 degrees C and we're in big trouble. 5 degrees C and we're cooked, like the mammoth and the sloth. Kmgeb, if you picture the hockey stick, the global temperature changed little for centuries, but now it's changing big-time. Yes, there have been bigger changes in prehistoric times, but we understand their causes. We also know enough about climate change understand the cause – it's greenhouse gases. I'm concerned enough about climate change to favor we, as a people, doing something about it. More than anything, that means ATTACHING A PRICE TO CARBON POLLUTION. If carbon industries damage our world, why shouldn't they pay for that damage? This provides an incentive for businesses not to burn carbon and provides $$$ toward solutions.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:10 p.m.

Is this hockey-stick thing happening? So far, no. It's not like carbon pollution began in the last few years. It's all conjecture designed to scare us into a politically correct behavior. The atmosphere seems to be able to handle this - it's an open system, not the closed one we see in laboratories. A degree or two is nothing, in the long run. And completely natural. The earth has withstood a lot more than 9 degrees (5 C) just fine. We're less than 20,000 years out of an ice age (far more than 9 degrees difference) and the earth is billions of years old. Hundreds of millions of years ago, there were dinosaurs roaming what was what we would call a tropical climate far north of here. Even if this were a crisis, it wouldn't be the earth at stake. Why attach artificial prices that will harm the poor far more than it will harm us? Why not just provide incentives to create renewable sources of energy?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

It appears nearly every discussant above is a non-scientist whose statements about a scientific question are based on their politics or their wishful thinking. For the record, I am real scientist, though my field is not climate. Orwell, you betray your ignorance if you think that a private exchange of emails at East Anglia University provides important information about climate change. Also, Orwell, the 97% was from a survey of real climate scientists: I challenge you, from the list you cited, perhaps from the signers in MIchigan, to find ONE real climate scientist who isn't paid by the carbon-burning industry. Dog Guy, you've got the paycheck question exactly backwards. Nearly every "climate expert" who thinks that climate change is not caused by greenhouse effect gets their paycheck from a carbon burner (e.g. Koch). Most of the leading scientists concerned about climate change (e.g. Bierbaum) are paid to research and report the truth, and their paycheck does not depend on the direction of their findings as long as they are scientifically sound. The Solyndra failure is one over-trumped case in an industry that has many successes. Can you name a new field of business endeavor, anytime in history, that does not have some failed companies?

Roger Kuhlman

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

Solar energy up to this point has been an incredibly ineffective and very expensive way of generating power. If what has been achieved with solar power so far had to replace 90% of fossil fuel energy immediately, the World would be in the greatest state of calamity it has ever faced with billions of people dying from want of energy.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:11 p.m.

It does sound like you're more a religious follower than what we would call a scientist. No matter what people say, you have your faith and it cannot be challenged.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

Why does this debate always turn into "people who believe global warming exists and want to throw money at anything that will reduce our carbon footprint vs. people who deny global warming exists and don't want to spend any money on fighting an imaginary problem"? The mere supposed truth of global warming shouldn't be sufficient grounds to tax and regulate the hell out of people to bankroll renewable energy. Anything "green" Congress passes should be because it will actually significantly extend our life on the planet, not just "doing something is better than nothing". I want to hear something like "___ is how many years before half the world is underwater if we do nothing and ____ is how long we'll extend that if we cut back pollution by ___ much." If we can't stop the oceans from rising anyways, we're better off using the coal and money to build giant walls around our shores to keep the water out or a giant hose to pump some water into space than to stop using coal and build solar/wind plants that'll end up underwater anyways. Yea, my example is ridiculous, but my point is: just because climate change is real doesn't mean what the president/congress want to do to combat it is a good idea. They're likely more motivated by scoring political points for the next election than actually saving the planet.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

another government funded study to lie ot the public for politicians profits. sad that the U is involved in this public scam.

Roger Kuhlman

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

Didn't that stalwart Democratic politician and environmentalist Al Gore sell his cable Network to the oil-rich kingdom of Qatar for $100 million?

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

So sayeth the priest Radlib2. Something like 95% of Americans believe in a god of some sort. Does fervent belief equate to the end of a debate? We can illustrate exactly how universities have shut out dissenting opinion on the reasons why it's one degree warmer in the last decade as compared to the 1980s. The East Anglia emails showed how scientific journals are controlled. No grant money goes to scientists who haven't yet concluded that the AGW cult is right. No aspiring professor will get hired if he doesn't drink the AGW Kool-Aid. In other words, you're just regurgitating the sermons of a very new and popular religion.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

Smart people. By the way, there isn't a single politician that wants the world's climate to change. Even though it proves we've been right all along, we're not patting each other on the back. GCC has been accepted--worldwide. The debate is over, long over. You've been proven wrong. Go home.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

Both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are now at record low levels. So what? Just as people travel around by thinking ahead before advancing, knowing what the weather is going to do in the future is more profitable for humans who intend to survive it. While some may have faith that they can travel anywhere without any input information as to what the future holds, most do want to know what any coming hazards are to better get to where they want to go. Common Sense. If the Great Lakes are going to dry up, does anyone care to know that in advance? If the summers are going to be hotter every year does anyone care to know that either? Carbon-based fuel providers could care less about future climate. Good or bad. Their focus is day-to-day profit and helping you to travel along without thought. So now do not worry about that next lemming step - they've got your back.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

You are correct. Nobody knows the truth. We were not here 250 million years ago taking notes. Since I have been here though the lakes are now at their lowest level. I am open to any explanation as to why that is. Knowing the most likely future is where the profit is going to be. One explanation is that bored aliens from another star system visited our resident-destroyed 'Earth' long, long ago. That's the one we call Venus today. Then they revitalized and populated another nearby planet with humans (the Neanderthals just didn't work out). For some odd reason, we call it planet Earth. Because Humans are now very close to discovering energy unification - enabling interstellar travel - the alien visitors,, long accustomed to being the only know-it-alls, are currently preparing this planet Earth for its own grand finale. Lucky for us, those aliens aren't the only ones in the hood.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

What record? This isn't like the record for most home runs (unaided by steroids). This is a "record" over a period that's about 1/50,000,000th of the age of the planet.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

Lets try this from a Geological perspective: 1.) The recent geologic record or geochronology of the last 2million years before present tells us that that climate has fluctuated significantly over this very short time frame (geologically speaking) at least four times. This is evidenced by a wide variety of indicators (Isostatic rebound, pollen, glacial deposition, sea level fluctuations, etc - it goes on but I won't list every indicator). Our current location was covered by 100s of meter of ice about 14,000 years ago - think Antarctica or continental glaciation. Basically uninhabitable. But this is the example of the cold extreme - only half the story. This cold/ice leaves a rather indelible record, physically scaring the planet, that also scrapes the slate of what happened between the cold extreme. 2.) These recorded climate fluctuations have resulted in changes to the climate that made life difficult for the inhabitants of planet to survive, up to and including extinctions of whole classes of mamals. We have no wooly mammoths, giant three toed sloths, or saber tooth tigers walking about in Michigan, North America or any other corner of the planet. We (Homo sapiens) only show up in the last 200,000 years or so, in any great numbers. So, we know the climate has changed in the absence of anthropogenic influences and nothing suggests that this will magically stop. Being that the climate does change, and this change has the ability to significantly impact large populations of the planets inhabitants (be they animal or bi-ped). Whether one agrees that the addition of 7 billion humans and their associated industrial activity has created anthropogenic related climate impacts is somewhat irrelevant. GCC is a component of the our planets natural system. The question is do we have the capacity to modify GCC without exacerbating the effect to our own detriment?

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

As far as we can tell, Radical Liberal. Problem is, we can't tell very far. And we don't have the trillions to spend to make radical changes that may or may not actually alter the temperature for a cause that may or may not be caused by humans.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 8:23 p.m.

Yes, the Earth's climate has changed many times. The thing is, those changes occured over thousands of years, GCC is an unnatural, stort-term phenomenon. We can show change over decades with GCC, exactly in accordnce with what has been predicted. Our natural balance has been thrown out of wack because we keep pouring greenhouses into the atmosphere. It doesn't matter that the climate naturally oscillates over eons, as far a we can tell, the changes we've seen in a two decade strech are unpresented.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

Lets not forget that in the early '70s, Lake Erie was "dying". They chose to ignore the time constants of Great Lakes water height levels. And what about the land bridge across Lake Huron where they have found evidence of human activity? Was ''Oil" Gore's dad a contributor to that, too? Now who stole all the water on Mars ?


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

I see all the drinkers of Koch Cool Aid have chimed in... I remember when the Earth was the center of the universe, too.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 6:25 a.m.

Just trying to combat the drinkers of the Soros "Swill"

G. Orwell

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

leaguebus Why is it that when you cannot win an argument based on facts, logic and common sense, you resort to name calling. I remember when Bush/Cheney minions use to do the same. I guess there is no difference between the two.

G. Orwell

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

Will the masses ever wake up to the government and media propaganda? Just about everything hyped by our government and mass media (both on the left and right) are lies or spin. Here you go Superior

Superior Twp voter

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

Thanks G.O. That illustration of Time magazine's 1977 cover spewing "How to survive the coming ice age" about says it all!

Superior Twp voter

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

See today's headline "University of Michigan head of research warns Congress against $60B cuts in research funding?" Well here is where the cuts should begin - U of M's climate change and sustainabiIity research programs. See the opinion piece published Thursday, 1-31-2013, page 1B, Detroit News, written by U of M's own Donald Scavia and Knute Nadelhoffer for all the chicken little "sky is falling" prognostications. Yea, in 1980, it was "global cooling." Sure thing...

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

Comments like Bierbaum's are socially irresponsible. The average temperature is about a degree or two higher than it was 130 years ago, when thorough record-keeping began. Assuming Gore's "hockey stick" as fact is not supported by anything we've seen in the past - and coal-burning has been around a lot longer than thorough record-keeping. It's also irresponsible to use the loaded term "climate change," when it's not a given. We still live in the same climate we lived in 130 years ago.

Dog Guy

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

About 100 climate change experts from the Midwest will all nod in agreement lest they imperil their paychecks.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

I see, so there is a vast conspiracy of grant funders from many different and diverse organizations in countries all over the world supplying money to individual scientists of whom 99 percent agree to go against everything they stand for and have been taught of the scientific method so they can live a happy, middle class existence on about $50,000 per year. Seems legit.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

Yes. One group gets paid by grant money, which won't be granted if it isn't politically correct. The other group gets paid by industry money, which won't be given if it doesn't show the opposite result. Who is doing honest research out there? Crickets.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

They will all nod in unison, for there are virtually none within their ranks who dissent. Oh I forgot, Al Gore paid off every single scientist to lie so he could sell books. That seems likely--more so than the oil industry paid off a couple of scientists to protect their profits and stem liability.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

That's ironic. Because with any amount of elementary research you see that the only scientists that deny climate change are scientists that are being paid by the oil industry.

G. Orwell

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

Also, another made up myth is that 97% of all scientists support man-made global warming. Most likely, the opposite is true. More like 97% of scientists now deny man-made global warming. I bet no one can name more than 100 scientists that will support man-made global warming. On the other hand, 31,487 scientists deny man-made global warming. The Global Warning Petition Project

G. Orwell

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

aggatt I said man-made global warming. The original scam. Not climate change. It may take few more years for the proponents of climate change to realize it is a natural cycle mainly caused by the cyclical nature of the sun. That is why other planets in our solar system are going through the same warming and cooling as the earth. Unless Martians have real big SUVs.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

I've easily MET 100 scientists that believe man has worsened global climate change. And that is a bogus propaganda link you posted, come up with some real facts. Keep in mind--climate change is a theory, just like gravity. AKA it's scientific fact.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

Yes, he's making up the 97% figure. It's called irony because it's exactly the same tactic the AGW cult uses.

G. Orwell

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

Whatever happened to global warming???? I guess the powers be could not perpetrate that lie so they changed it to climate change. What exactly is climate change? Climate has ALWAYS changed. For example, what caused the Ice Age? What caused the medieval warming (temperatures far higher than recent times). Hello! Can we use just a little logic here. Could the sun be the cause as the UN IPCC has recently acknowledged. Man-made global warming and climate change is modern day earth is flat theory. Recent admissions by the East Anglia University that there have not been any global warming for the past 16 years should put all this fearmongering to bed. Unfortunately there are very powerful and greedy people that want to tax everyone for breathing as it has been proposed recently in England. England wants to tax the air they breath! What a fraud to "legally" steal from the public. No global warming; therefore, no 20 feet (Al Gore) sea level rises and no global catastrophe. End of discussion.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

Having just read so many opinions of those of you that think you know more than the 97% of scientists who agree that climate change is real and caused mainly by humans, I'd say we're doomed.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

The Earth is warming irrespective of opinion, nd whether you, or anyone else likes. This is irrefutable, beyond contestation, and easily quantifiable. The numbers don't lie, people do. People like the ones you identify with. Let us say GCC could be a hoax or not. Does it not make sence to try to do something about it? I hope it is a hoax, for I much rather be proven wrong. I highly doubt, however, that 97% of scientists are. I guess anything is possible though.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

" but far enough that we can say that the Earth has been warming." What's this "we" stuff? Don't include the rest of us in your climate change alarmist cult worship.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 6:23 a.m.

It makes me laugh...all you libs who hate religion so much sure do worship at the altar of Al-Jezeera Gore. Hilarious.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

You're right avergage Joe--I meant to say that. It is true that our records don't too far back, but far enough that we can say that the Earth has been warming. It has also warmed in lockstep with the increase in CO2.

average joe

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

@ Radlib2- "17 of the warmest years have come in the last 20." Should be- 17 of the warmest years 'on record' have come in the last 20.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

" You name a university nobody knows and submit it as evidence?" Almost as useful as an online commenter nobody knows submitting evidence.

G. Orwell

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

Radlib2 If you did not know what East Anglia University was, you are really uninformed. This is where, with the help of the UN and there minions like Michael Mann out of U Penn, fabricated the temperature data, so snake oil salesman like Al Gore could push the global warming agenda to tax everyone for breathing and create a carbon trading scheme (all exposed when emails were leaked. This incident was coined, climategate). A scheme created by Wall Street and Enron to steal from the public. Yet another mortgage backed securities style swindle. People are so naive they support things and people that want to do them harm. Al Gore sold us NAFTA. That really worked out great. Him and his buddies probably had investments in Mexico and China just as all the outsourcing of good manufacturing jobs started.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Um, if you study the climate at all, you know what East Anglia is - the absolute epicenter of the AGW cult and where the conspiracy to eliminate dissenting opinion from scientific journals was revealed.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Wow! You name a university nobody knows and submit it as evidence? 17 of the warmest years have come in the last 20. It has been proven the Earth is warming. There is no debate about that, as it is readily quantifiable. Do some reading, even if you do just a little, you'll see how wrong you are! The key is you must read stuff from scientists. It shouldn't be hard, there is 97% concordance.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

For something becomes scientific theory, it really means it is fact so far as we can tell, like the theory of evoultion. When you say "many experts" I'm not sure what you mean, since a vast majority of climate scientists think GCC is anthropogenic, not simply a climate trend. Moreover, ALL scientific bodies concur with that assesment. We can have opinions about it: to either believe the people in the know, of belive conserative politicans in this country, for they are the only ones--for all intents and purposes--that deny it. If there is a conspiracy, doesn't it seem likely that the oil industry is behind it? After all, they are the ones with the money and motive to cast doubt on GCC.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

Come on guy, you can't just lie and think anyone will believe you.

Top Cat

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

A Federally sponsored sales job for Obama's policies of closing coal burning plants, making electricity more expensive for everyone and more crony capitalism such as Solyndra? But of course.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

Quite simply, Enso, it's the attitude of those who are spreading the word of climate change (which has not actually happened, unless you consider one degree back-and-forth over 130 years to be evidence of change). Everything else is a hypothesis based on an assumption of feedback leading to the "hockey-stick" curve which would represent the type of change Bierbaum is assuming. Michigan *will* become Arkansas. This would be unprecedented. Like religion, the hockey stick of climate change is dependent on "experts" assuming a conclusion before even beginning a study. No one in academia receives grant money without a hypothesis that supports the hockey-stick cult. The language you and others use to support this claim is the same language (deniers, etc) religious leaders use to keep their followers in line. It's not surprising you don't see the similarities. We are nowhere when it comes to honest and meaningful study of the climate. Just as we're nowhere in our understanding of the origin of the universe. The Earth has withstood billions of years of change. It has withstood hundreds of millions of years of creatures far more powerful than we are. It is uniquely man's arrogance that we consider ourselves the center of the universe.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

@Macabre I'm not even going to respond to the second half of your comment because the first is so ludicrous. To claim that climate change and belief in god are even remotely related is to either be intellectually dishonest or a good ol' fashioned inability to think critically. Explain to me how the belief in Jesus, or god, of which there is literally no evidence is similar to the belief in climate change, of which there is overwhelming evidence.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

or that the 1980s were a little *colder* than... excuse me.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

All this talk of "denial" sounds remarkably like "do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour? If not, you are going to a warmer place." Nobody, I think, denies that it's a little warmer than it was in the 1980s - or that the 1980s were a little warmer than the 1930s or the 1890s. A little warmer - like a degree or two of fluctuation one way or the other every 20-30 years. It seems irresponsible to call a one-degree fluctuation "climate change." Or assume that man has caused this change. Are we that arrogant, the way religion makes people arrogant?


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

@Harry, I can tell you are not a scientist because you don't seem to understand what a theory is. It seems you, like many others, are under the impression that a theory is just someone making an assertion. This is true in some circles, but in science a theory is kind of a big deal. For something to be a theory, all the facts point to it being so. Like gravity, which is also a theory. It is a theory that when you drop something it will fall. Both you and I know that we are pretty certain everything we drop will fall. That certainty that you feel is what science calls a theory. Also, there are not 'many experts' that deny climate change. There is not a single scientific body that denies climate change is happening right now. And 99 percent of scientists agree that humans are adding to climate change and increasing the rate at which it is occurring.

harry b

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Climate change is a theroy. There are many experts that think this is just the trend that we have seen over past 100 years or so. Personally, I have no idea. I am not a scientist. Anyone who have not studied this really should not have an opinion either. Although clean air is a good thing.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

Wow. First post on the story is science denial and conspiracy theory all in one.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

Election's over, your side lost. Now it is time to get real. Get your head out of the sand. We are collectively screwed if we don't immediately figure outhow to come together on the overriding issue of climate change.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

That car you drive, one of several factors in which you've helped to exacerbate (means make bigger) the problem of climate change. Now we have to find solutions. All it is is a little personal responsibility and accountability. I thought your kind hold those up as ideals???