It may sound ridiculous, given the grave, long-term predictions associated with climate change, but two studies now assert that Michigan is the place to be in the coming decades if the climate becomes an enemy of the planet.
Compared to the projected impact on the South and the Midwestern Plains states, Michigan will survive climate disruption in much better shape than almost any other area of the country, according to a new study called groundbreaking by scientists who specialize in climate research.
The report, unveiled in the journal Science, is based on a project in which researchers calculated the possible effects of 15 types of impacts for each U.S. county across 29,000 computer simulations through the year 2010. It looks at agriculture, energy costs, labor costs, coastal damage from rising seas, crime and deaths, then estimates the effect on average local income by the end of the century.
A map created by the researchers shows that five of the 10 counties that would comparatively benefit the most from global warming are in Michigan (though, strangely, I could not find the data that identifies these counties). The others are in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada and the mountainous region of North Carolina.
Skeptics will scoff at such elongated predictions but this study concludes that the overall societal and economic impact of climate change over the next eight decades will most benefit Michigan, Minnesota, the far Northeast, the Northwest and mountainous areas, compared to the rest of the nation.
“The South gets hammered and the North can actually benefit,” said study lead author Solomon Hsiang, a University of California economist. “The South gets hammered primarily because it’s super-hot already. It just so happens that the South is also poorer.”
To be clear, the study is not meant to downplay climate change scenarios that suggest these disruptions would surely have a significant on the Great Lakes and the state’s forests and agricultural crops. But the most disastrous effects would be largely avoided in Michigan.
A similar study released in the spring by the publication Popular Science found that Michigan will be the United States’ most-desired state to live in by 2100.
By process of elimination, the Popular Science research reached its conclusions based on projected weather patterns, temperatures and natural disasters.
With geography as a major factor, the projections are based on Michigan being wholly or largely unaffected by rising sea levels, increases in violent hurricanes, severe tornadoes, extended droughts and access to fresh water.