Nolan Rutschilling, Managing Director of Energy Policy, November 1, 2022
Local governments often bear the costs of pressing public policy issues, from modernizing infrastructure to navigating public health emergencies. Addressing climate change is no exception, states a new report that estimates Ohio will need to increase municipal spending by upwards of 82%—approximately $5.9 billion—per year by 2050 to combat climate change.
“The Bill is Coming Due: Calculating the Financial Cost of Climate Change to Ohio’s Local Governments” is a groundbreaking report that analyzes the impacts of climate change on local municipal budgets in Ohio. Authored by the OEC, Power A Clean Future Ohio (PCFO), and Scioto Analysis, this report is a tool for local governments to drive climate action in their communities.
Fifty major climate impacts are accounted for in the report—with just 10 of these driving the nearly $6 billion cost estimate for Ohio’s future climate crisis adaptation. Impacts include increasing temperatures, extreme precipitation and flooding, erosion, and other extreme weather. The report breaks down costs associated with climate adaptation measures local governments will be expected to bear, such as major infrastructure projects and public health costs.
Costs associated with climate-driven disaster recovery and adaptation will create a major financial burden on already overstretched municipal budgets. Financially, local governments will need to explore every option to pay for these adaptation costs, including addressing these costs with the industries that created them. As we work to combat the climate crisis at the local level, this report is critical to understanding what needs done to keep our communities safe and healthy.
“The Bill Is Coming Due” report was well received, garnering news coverage in virtually every major Ohio media outlet, reaching millions of folks. Even Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown noticed the report, and his staff invited OEC and our partners PCFO to join a U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing on August 4th to share our findings. PCFO Executive Director Joe Flarida addressed a national audience, drawing attention to the need for bold climate action. Although the costs of adapting to climate change will be high, local leaders can take advantage of a cost-free opportunity today to reduce carbon emissions across our state and protect their communities.