Understanding the Risks of a Changing Climate for the Great Lakes

September 2021 - December 2021


The Great Lakes Commission’s Action Plan for a Resilient Great Lakes notes, “All members of the Great Lakes community have a role to play in securing a more resilient Great Lakes Basin.”

One such role community members can play, and a stated goal across the Action Plan, was to connect existing knowledge on the Great Lakes Basin and ensure community expertise is available. Responding to this need in the community, the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), in partnership with Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, sought to aggregate existing studies and assessments that identify risks related to climate change in the Great Lakes Basin, in order to create a comprehensive and interactive resource library (IRL), and identify knowledge gaps for future study and assessment.

The students researched knowledge gaps and found opportunities for research that could aid governments in making their states more resilient to climate change risks. The main opportunities identified were (1) understanding the interconnectedness of the impacts and (2) the need for increased collaboration between government agencies and other stakeholders. In addition, the research team highlighted the lack of an equity and environmental justice (EEJ) lens in most found research conducted in the Great Lakes Basin. While EEJ is acknowledged to be increasingly important topics in climate risk assessment, research on the region has not yet progressed to examine the inequitable effects of climate change in a robust way.


Great Lakes Commission