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July 06, 2009 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-07-06

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Monday, July 6, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Michigan's hot topic




Unsigned editorials reflect the officialposition of the Daily'seditorial board. All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely
theviews ofttheir authors.
Keeping the Promnise
State House should reject bill to cut merit-based scholarship
Why call something a promise if you have no problem break-
ing it? As Michigan struggles with an estimated $1.7-billion
budget deficit for the next fiscal year, the state is looking at
eliminating the Michigan Promise Scholarship. While some tough cuts
will need to be made to balance the budget, scholarship aid is too impor-
tant to eliminate. With the state's poor economic situation compound-
ed by ever-increasing college tuition rates, students need state-funded
scholarships more than ever. The state shouldn't break the promise it
made to students - and state residents - to help pay for their futures.

I always feel a bit silly when
people refer to me as a "Michi-
gander." The word sounds like
it should refer to some sort of
long-necked domestic bird. But I
was never ashamed to be a per-
son from Michigan until I read
an article in The Michigan Daily
about a recent Greenpeace report
(Michigan's CO2 emissions higher
than those in entire countries,
06/01/2009). The report, based
on a long-term study conducted
by the World Resources Insti-
tute, found that Michigan emits
more carbon dioxide than 167 of
the 184 countries studied. This
deplorable situation is unaccept-
able, and it demands strong and
swift action.
How can it be that Michigan
emits more C02 than Sweden,
Austria and Greece combined?
A big part of the problem lies in
Michigan's power infrastructure:
comes from inefficient, outdated .
and dirty coal plants. But accord-
ing to Greenpeace, electric power
accounts for only 40 percent of
the state's massive carbon emis-
sions. Another 30 percent comes
from transportation andnthe fact
that so many people in Michigan
drive gas-guzzlers produced by
the Big Three automakers. And it.
certainly doesn't help that politi-
cians - most notablyAnn Arbor's
representative in U.S. Congress,
John Dingell (D-Dearborn) -
have worked very hard to prevent
much-needed progress toward
improving emissions standards
on these vehicles.
What's especially offensive
about Michigan'sinactiont-and
the entire country's - is this: If
the trend toward global warm-
ing isn't stymied, it will have dire
ramifications for the people who
contributed least to the problem
and had no say in policies that
led to it. Certainly, industrialized
nations willface- and are already
facing - serious problems as a
result of global climate change.
But the people who will suffer
the most are the world's disad-
vantaged: future flood victims
in developing nations, Africans
who won't have enough water
to drink, poor farmers strug-
gling to support their families,
traditional societies that rely on
threatened ecosystems for their
T L!%, UP/OW
K 5A fun-filled trip to classic
vacation spot Wall Disney
World in Florida.

livelihoods - and the list goes on.
Americans may be able to survive
on a warmer planet, but there are
plenty of people in other parts of
the world who won't.
Of course, those in the third
world won't be the only ones get-
ting the worst out of the deal.
Young college students ought to
be fuming about excessive' fossil
fuel usage, too. After all, young
people are the ones who will bear
the brunt of the consequences
of today's carbon emissions. A
fifty-something business execu-
tive who drives a 4x4 Hummer,
ignorantly denying that global
warming is a problem and con-
suming resources like there's no
tomorrow, will probably have one
foot (or both) in the grave before
the worst consequences of those
actions are fully realized. But
that's not so for most students.
Right now, the U.S. is a bit like
a car driving recklessly at 100
mph while a group of unwilling
passengers sit in the back. If the
driver - the policy-makers, busi-
ness executives and others who
brought the U.S. to the present
situation - crashes the car, those
in the back seat will also have to
pay the consequences.
The injustice and the threat
posed by global climate change
demand action at many differ-
ent levels. At the state level, coal
plants must be replaced with effi-
cient, sustainable sources, and
Michigan's legislature should act
quickly to honor the commitment
made by Governor Jennifer Gra-
nholm in her most recent State of
the State address: a commitment
to reduce power plant fossil fuel
use by 45 percent by 2020. At the
national level, Democrats should
stand by their words and pass
legislation to limit carbon emis-
sions and push green technology
forward with additional govern-
ment investment, higher subsi-
dies and an ambitious timetable
for shifting to renewable-energy
infrastructure. And students like
us can help in some very simple
ways: educating ourselves (and
others), writing our legislators,
conserving energy and being con-
scious of how our actions affect
others and our environment.
Brian Flaherty is a
Business senior.
A not-so fun-filled ride on
a crashing monorail at Wall
Disney World.

Michigan's House of Repre-
sentatives is now considering a
bill to eliminate the $140-million,
merit-based Michigan Promise
Scholarship. The bill, which the
Senate has already passed, could
cut the scholarship to help com-
pensate for the state's massive
budget deficit. The scholarship
was signed into law by Gov. Jen-
nifer Granholm in-December of
2006 to encourage Michigan resi-
dents to attend college by giving
financial assistance to those who
pass the standardized Michigan
Merit Exam or successfully com-
plete two years of post-secondary
education. More than 96,000 stu-
dents receive up to $4,000 per
person from the scholarship.
Most importantly, retracting
the Michigan Promise Scholar-
ship would hurt students who
depend on this money. For those
who performed well on the
MME, the scholarship pays out
the money in increments during
the first two years of post-sec-
ondary education. That means

that students attending college
this fall were already calculat-
ing the scholarship into their
budgets. Students are finding
it difficult to fund their college
education, evenwithout losing
promised scholarships. Revok-
ing this scholarship money
would make college a less real-
istic possibility for many.
Michigan needs to make col-
lege more accessible for its
residents, not less. After all, a
well-educated workforce is the
best way to rescue the state's
economy. Michigan's current
economic failures are partly a
result of the state's dependence
on the automotive industry.
The state needs to utilize every
method it can to attract more
businesses to the state, and the
best way to do that is to diversify
the state's economy. If the state
invests in higher education,
the number of college gradu-
ates in Michigan will rise, mak-
ing the state more appealing to
the diverse group of businesses

based in science and technology
that the state needs. Thesekinds
of science- and knowledge-
based businesses could help turn
around the state's economy.
But the Michigan Promise
Scholarship is more than just a
helping hand. It was a promise
to support higher education. If
the state were to eliminate the
scholarship, it would be showing
a serious lack of commitment to
higher education during a time
when education is needed more
than ever. It would also call into
question the ability of the state
government to keep its word on
important issues like education.
The bill to eliminate the Michi-
gan Promise Scholarship might
save the state money in the short
term, but improving Michi-
gap's economy for the long haul
depends upon the creation of
more jobs that require a college
education. The Michigan legisla-
ture shouldn't break its promise.
The state's students - and its own
future - depend on it.

Editorial Board Members:
Raghu Kainkaryam, Sutha K Kanagasingam, Erika Mayer,
Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Vivian Wang, Patrick Zabawa

V Let us know what you think. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu or visit
michigandaily.com and click on 'Letter to the editor.'

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