New report warns of dangers to Great Lakes health and economy from climate change | 3/21/2019 | Staff
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Roughly 34 million people in the United States and Canada rely on the Great Lakes for drinking water, jobs, recreation and more.

A new report provides an updated and detailed picture for how climate change is affecting this crucial source of freshwater and, therefore, threatening public health, infrastructure, fish and wildlife, and the regional economy.

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More than a dozen leading scientists and experts—including Northwestern University's Aaron Packman—from Midwestern and Canadian universities and research institutions released the comprehensive report today (March 22).

"We are already seeing the effects of climate change on Great Lakes cities," Packman said. "One example is the recent severe flooding, which is associated with changing weather patterns in the winter and early spring."

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An expert in water scarcity, water management and urban flooding, Packman is a professor of civil and environmental engineering in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and director of the Northwestern Center for Water Research.

The first-of-its-kind report was commissioned pro-bono by the Environmental Law & Policy Center in concert with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to educate policymakers and the public about the significant changes affecting the Great Lakes and the vital importance of acting now to protect natural resources.

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"Over the last two centuries, the Great Lakes have been impacted by human activity, and climate change is now adding more challenges and another layer of stress," said Don Wuebbles, who led the study. "This report paints a stark picture of changes in store for the lakes as a result of our changing climate."

Wuebbles is the Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois and former assistant director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama.

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The report highlights wide-ranging impacts, including weather changes, water quality, ecology, infrastructure, public health, land value and economics. Industries as far reaching as agriculture, tourism, transportation...
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