Emily Bacha, Vice President of Public Affairs, July 20, 2022
COLUMBUS – Local governments across Ohio will need to increase municipal spending by as much as $5.9 billion annually by midcentury in order to adapt to the challenges of a worsening climate crisis, according to a new study released today by the Ohio Environmental Council, Power A Clean Future Ohio, and Scioto Analysis.
The report, The Bill is Coming Due: Calculating the Financial Cost of Climate Change to Ohio’s Local Governments, provides a conservative estimate of the additional costs that municipalities — including specific estimates for Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Cuyahoga Falls, Dayton, Lima, Marietta, Marion, Oberlin, Piqua, Toledo, Wadsworth, Youngstown — can expect to incur due to climate change.
“We know municipalities across Ohio, including some of those in the report, are taking action to lower their carbon emissions and secure healthier environments for their residents,” said Joe Flarida, Executive Director of Power a Clean Future Ohio.“But we also know climate change is having real environmental and financial impacts on these communities today.”
The report provides estimates for how much municipalities will have to additionally spend on 10 specific impacts related to climate change, including:
Another 40 impacts are identified but not included in the overall estimate.
According to the report, communities across Ohio have been coping with increasing temperatures, flooding, erosion, and climate-related extreme weather events for years. These climate damages are projected to only intensify in approaching decades, generating new costs associated with climate-driven disaster recovery and adaptation, and creating a major strain on already overstretched taxpayers and cash-strapped local governments.
“Obviously Ohio cities cannot afford to wait to take action on climate,” said Toledo City Council Member Nick Komives. “Toledoans are already experiencing the harmful impacts of global warming and we must do all we can to mitigate further pressure on the pocketbooks of our residents. It’s not just good policy, it’s the right thing to do for us all.”
“The city of Cincinnati needs to take a proactive position and work to address climate challenges, in particular those challenges faced by our disenfranchised populations,” said Cincinnati City Council Member Meeka Owens. “This report is one important resource that can serve as a guide for budgetary decision making. This is also a tool that can be used to educate the public about the effects of climate change. And while some may not understand or care about the impacts to the environment, the financial burden is a metric taxpayers are all too familiar with.”
“The price tag for adapting to our changing climate and protecting communities from the climate crisis is staggering for cities like Youngstown,” said Youngstown City Council Member Lauren McNally. “Our local budgets are already under pressure, and it’s not fair that the bill keeps falling on residents least responsible for creating this mess.”
The report concludes with policy options for local policymakers tasked with securing funding to cover these costs, including: raising taxes, requesting additional funds from the federal government, or exploring legal and other avenues to hold climate polluters financially accountable for existing costs and ongoing damages.
“There is no time to waste. The costs to address real-time climate impacts and prepare for even more dangerous future impacts continue to grow,” said Nolan Rutschilling, Managing Director of Energy Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council. “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment requiring action by local, state, and federal leaders.”
Click here to access the report: https://bit.ly/OHclimatecosts
Click here to access a recording of the press conference: https://bit.ly/OHclimatecosts-pressbriefing
Media Inquiries: ebacha<at>theoec.org
The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is the state’s most comprehensive and effective environmental advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Ohio. The OEC develops and ensures the implementation of forward-thinking, science-based, pragmatic solutions to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.
Power A Clean Future Ohio (PCFO) is a nonpartisan coalition that works with local leaders to develop and implement proven climate solutions. PCFO is committed to reducing carbon emissions throughout Ohio in big and small ways that make sense for each local community. Ohio’s economy, health and future depend on a new approach to clean energy and climate change.
Scioto Analysis provides policymakers and policy influencers with evidence-based analysis of pressing public problems. By making clear the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity impacts of public policies, Scioto Analysis gives decision makers the information they need to craft policy that improves lives.