Climage Change is a Great Lakes Commission priority as articulated in the Commission’s biennial workplan. Below is an excerpt from our biennial workplan climate change initiative, which outlines the problem, our overall goal for the region, and the Commission’s specific objectives in this area. For a list of actual projects and accomplishments in this area, please use the links in the blue bar to the left.
Problem Statement: There is growing evidence that regional climate change is altering the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence ecosystem: average temperatures are rising; winters have become shorter; spring is arriving earlier. Extreme rainfall events are becoming more frequent and there are shorter durations of ice cover, especially on smaller lakes. Experts believe that climate change is already impacting water levels: the upper lakes (Superior, Michigan and Huron) have recently been near historic low records. Low lake levels have already exacerbated the need for dredging and decreased hydropower production across the region impacting the U.S. and Canadian economies. Climate change poses serious threats to the ecosystem and challenges as well as opportunities for the region’s economy. The anticipation of such impacts was recognized by the region’s leaders when they signed the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Sustainable Water Resources Agreement in 2005, which states “In light of possible variations in climate conditions and the potential cumulative effects of demands that may be placed on the waters of the Basin, the states and provinces must act to ensure the protection and conservation of the Waters and Water Dependent Natural Resources of the Basin for future generations.” The Commission will target its climate change work at water resources, which may include how energy issues affect the water and other natural resources of the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin.
Goal: A high level of resiliency to climate change and its impacts by developing, testing and re-shaping water, trade, environmental and coastal policies.
- Facilitate and participate in forums to better understand anthropogenic and climate changes affecting the hydrologic and ecological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin
- Support, conduct and collaborate in research to improve the regional response to climate change with emphasis on public policy options, adaptive management and communications/information sharing through the Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN)
- Work to increase funding for climate change programs especially those that focus on monitoring, predictive modeling and improvement of hydrologic, ecological and meteorological data and information
- Explore the possibility of the Great Lakes Commission becoming a forum for integrating regional responses to climate change
For more information contact Victoria Pebbles, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Stuart Eddy, email@example.com.