Sarah Spence, Director of Climate Programs, August 10, 2017
Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its “State of the Climate in 2016” report indicating that last year was the hottest on record. For those of you who’ve been following this issue, the news will likely come as no surprise.
In fact, this is the third year in a row to be called “the hottest on record.” The trend shows an alarming increase in global temperatures that are already causing a number of negative health and environmental impacts across the globe.
In Ohio, we’ve seen a spike in tick-borne illness thanks to longer breeding seasons, an increase in toxic algae in Lake Erie due to severe storms that wash agricultural pollution into our waterways, and a rise in childhood asthma and allergy rates.
Unfortunately, the final report from NOAA includes no explicit connection between human activity and global temperature increases. With a scientific consensus on the causes of climate change, we can’t afford to tip-toe around the problem: us. However, we can also be the solution to the problem we’ve created.
Ohio is one of the largest carbon polluters in the U.S. We are also home to the bright minds and innovative technologies capable of leading the transition to cleaner, sustainable energy sources.
Ohioans are problem solvers. Unfortunately, a number of policy makers in the Buckeye State have actively worked against Ohio’s ability to lead the charge on clean energy, and our climate, economy, and health are taking a hit as a result.
For example, our successful clean energy standards, which require electric utilities to source 25 percent of our power from clean and efficient sources, are still under attack. An over-the-top regulation on wind power continues to block the development of enough new wind energy to power 900,000 homes. Some in the legislature are also trying to keep some of the dirtiest coal plants in Ohio (and Indiana) operational by arbitrarily raising our electric bills!
What happens in our little corner of the world has a direct impact on whether 2017 continues the terrible trend as is the next hottest year on record. Ohio’s leadership, or lack thereof, will impact the global climate crisis. The OEC is actively fighting to unshackle Ohio’s full clean energy potential by correcting these bad policies. Just these few changes will bring economic opportunity, healthier air (wouldn’t we all love to bid farewell to those horrid seasonal allergies), and lower electricity bills.