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Analysis Shows Ohio Can Easily Meet Carbon Reductions

Ohio Environmental Council, November 20, 2014


As the deadline looms for the US EPA’s first ever rule to cut carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants, state regulators, advocates and power generators assess how Ohio will achieve a 28% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

Despite claims by some that this target is too aggressive, environmental and public health advocates assert that Ohio absolutely will be able to meet – or even exceed – the carbon emission reductions proposed in the US EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The analysis released by the Ohio Environmental Council demonstrates that Ohio can meet the proposed carbon emission reduction goal.

“Ohio has tremendous capacity to be more efficient in our energy use, deploy more renewable resources and decentralize our power grid. These strategies combined will greatly reduce Ohio’s carbon pollution,” said Brennan Howell, Director of Clean Energy and Climate Campaigns for the Ohio Environmental Council. “And we can do it without increasing the price of power for consumers.” Once fully implemented, the US EPA indicates that monthly electricity bills will be 8% lower than they would be without the Clean Power Plan.

Currently in draft form, the Clean Power Plan limits the amount of carbon pollution coal-fired power plants may emit, as a means to curb a major cause of global warming. Ancillary benefits of cutting carbon pollution also will clean the air and will allow for Ohio to continue growing its clean energy economy.

National studies indicate that as states implement the new carbon limits, the rule will produce between $48 billion to $82 billion in climate and health benefits. Ohio, in particular, stands to see some of the greatest reductions in harmful air pollutant as a result of full implementation of the rule.

“Reducing carbon pollution will substantially reduce other pollutants which contribute to poor air quality and public health,” said Richard Hicks, Health and Sustainability Planner for Columbus Public Health. “The Clean Power Plan is the best opportunity in a generation to reduce harmful air pollutants that contribute to asthma, heart attacks, heart disease, chronic and acute bronchitis, and emphysema.”

Overall, actions taken by Ohio to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants will have a lasting impact on future Ohioans. While opponents of the rule claim that the proposed rule will burden consumers with higher utility bills, multiple analyses show that if states deploy cost-effective energy efficiency programs and invest in renewable resources, consumers will not see a hike in energy prices.

Under the proposed rule, Ohio will have a variety of cost-effective tools at its disposal to comply with the Clean Power Plan. Such tools can address larger environmental justice issues that have lingered for years near coal-fired power plants, and which sectors of our population feel the effects of global warming more intensely than others.

“The cost of doing nothing about global warming is substantially greater than the cost of action,” added Howell, “Given the substantial amount of flexibility and discretion given to states to reduce carbon pollution, complaining about costs in this case is like building a shoddy house and then complaining the poor quality of the house.”