Cleveland, OH – As public concern about extreme weather ramps up, Ohio is proving that we can win the fight against global warming. Clean energy policies, such as Ohio’s Clean Energy Law – Senate Bill 221 – and Federal Clean Car Programs, are significantly cutting emissions of carbon pollution – the leading cause of global warming – according to a new report by Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center. The report showed that a suite of state and federal clean energy policies implemented since 2007 reduced carbon pollution by at least 4.7 million metric tons in 2012. That is comparable to the annual emissions from nearly 1 million cars.
By using energy more efficiently, and by generating more power from clean, renewable sources, we are delivering a one-two punch in the fight against global warming,” said Christian Adams, State Associate with Environment Ohio. “We’ve proven that we have what it takes to protect our children and future generations from the worst impacts of climate change. We will need firm limits on carbon pollution in order to deliver a knockout blow.”
Scientists say extreme weather like summer droughts in 2012 and violent windstorms like those felt during Hurricane Sandy foreshadow what could be a new normal of weather extremes that could threaten our children and future generations if we fail to act on climate. Coal- and gas-fired power plants are America’s largest source of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.
Environment Ohio pointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) plan to move forward with limits on carbon pollution from power plants as the next step to fight global warming and shift to clean energy. Right now EPA limits arsenic, lead, soot and other pollution from power plants – but not carbon pollution. Power plants are America’s largest source of the carbon pollution fueling global warming, accounting for about 40 percent of total emissions.
Key findings from the report include:
- Renewable electricity standards have helped Ohio develop enough renewable energy to offset as much carbon pollution as 125,000 cars produce in a year.
- Energy efficiency policies have helped avoid as much carbon pollution as 567,000 cars produce in a year.
- Limits on carbon pollution from power plants would build on Ohio’s success in using wind, solar, and energy efficiency to reduce carbon pollution.
Environment Ohio released its report outside First Unitarian Church of Cleveland in Shaker Heights. First Unitarian’s 91.2kW solar carport is one example of how clean energy is repowering Ohio. “Solar energy projects like the array designed by Bold Alternatives at First Unitarian are reducing pollution, creating jobs, and producing power right here in Shaker Heights,” said Rob Martens, President of Bold Alternatives and Solar Action LLC. “Limits on carbon from power plants will build on projects like this one and could help spur even more clean energy here across Ohio.”
“The array offsets nearly 100 percent of our electrical needs,” said Reverend Daniel Budd of First Unitarian. “By investing in clean energy, upgrading to more efficient lighting, and incorporating environmental principles into our daily lives our congregation can proclaim and live out our commitment to the Earth.”
“Faith communities across the Buckeye State are taking action and faithfully living out God’s call to love our neighbors and be good stewards of creation,” said Alycia Ashburn with Ohio Interfaith Power and Light. “They are utilizing energy efficiency and conservation programs, switching to renewable sources, and are advocating for policies that are critical for protecting current and future generations.”
Environment Ohio’s Adams pointed to opposition from power companies, the coal industry, and other big polluters as a roadblock to action. Last fall, Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee Chairman Bill Seitz introduced Senate Bill 58 – a proposal linked to big polluters that would exempt major industries from energy efficiency requirements and reduce investment in Ohio-based clean energy projects. This spring, groups from the American Petroleum Institute to the National Mining Association have launched campaigns to block or undermine federal carbon limits.
“With enough willpower, Ohio can rise to any challenge. We’ve seen that climate solutions work – now it’s time for the next round,” Adams concluded. “Our leaders can start by rejecting attacks like Senate Bill 58 and supporting the EPA’s plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants.”
Environment Ohio’s report – Moving America Forward – is available online at EnvironmentOhio.org.