Marquette mayor speaks on climate change plans

MARQUETTE — Northern Climate Network’s Climate@Noon series held on Friday via Zoom featured Marquette Mayor Jenna Smith, who spoke about the recent climate action resolution the city passed in December.

“You’ll see that in our strategic planning, climate change is one of the big issues,” Smith said.

According to the resolution passed, the city commits to eliminating the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The resolution’s goals will be worked into the city’s master plan that the city will be creating soon.

The city has already made efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Lakeview Arena has undergone upgrades to use energy-efficient mechanics, and the street lights in town have been changed to LED lights. These changes were made due to the Johnson Controls International energy optimization project the city approved in 2017. However, there is much more work to be done in the future.

“Things I think about when it relates to the city of Marquette with climate change, I think about our vehicle fleet, snow plows, service vehicles, contracts with our waste hauler who picks up our recycling and our garbage. I think about our water, the sewer, the infrastructure on the roads, flooding events, shoreline erosion, the wildlife that lives here,” Smith said.

Residents expressed via Zoom that they would like to see more leadership between the Board of Light and Power and the city in terms of educating the public about how the city plans to deal with climate change.

Smith said the city will absolutely include the BLP in the city’s master plan process. She also added the city is looking for funding opportunities to help support the cost of eliminating the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“The city of Marquette is, in a lot of ways, a leader in the county. We end up being a leader across the Upper Peninsula as well, and even in the Midwest region,” Smith said about Marquette setting an example for other rural Michigan communities to take climate change action.

City commissioner Jenn Hill also was present at the talk via Zoom, and encouraged everyone to attend city commission meetings and work sessions to stay involved and be informed about what is going on in the city.

Smith also encouraged residents to reach out to the city commission, BLP or the city manager with questions or concerns.

The Northern Climate Network launched in 2015 and is a campus and community organization dedicated to providing opportunities to discuss and learn about climate change in the region. It is sponsored by Marquette’s Climate Adaptation Task Force, which is a collaborative effort led by Marquette County, the Superior Watershed Partnership and Northern Michigan University.

The Climate@Noon talks have been happening for several years.

“Presenters and discussions span a wide range of topics and presenters are people doing work at any level related to climate,” coordinator of the Northern Climate Network Ryan Stock said.

Climate@Noon talks are held monthly on a Friday from noon to 1 p.m. during the NMU academic year. To learn more about the group and upcoming presentations, visit https://nmu.edu/northernclimatenetwork/.

Taylor Johnson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is tjohnson@miningjournal.net.


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