Emily Bacha, Vice President of Public Affairs, August 4, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Power a Clean Future Ohio Executive Director Joe Flarida delivered expert testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs during its hearing, Borrowed Time: The Economic Costs of Climate Change.
“Climate change is here. The country knows it,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Committee Chairman, as he called the hearing to order. “Ask mayors, ask school superintendents, ask county commissioners about the increasing costs they deal with already because of climate change — costs we know will only get worse — and we know who will be forced to pay for these costs. It’s not the oil companies making record profits… it’s the local taxpayers. The likely impact of climate change could cost people in my state $6 billion a year.”
“My main point today is that we cannot afford to ignore climate change. We must act now,” said Flarida in his testimony. “While we are very likely to incur considerable costs due to climate change, the worst of this crisis can be averted. Local governments are leading the way in transitioning to clean energy. They are adopting carbon reduction goals and establishing bold climate action plans, but they need your support. My recommendation to Congress is to elevate this issue in every aspect of what you do and further invest in local governments.”
During the hearing, Flarida presented the findings from a first-of-its-kind report released by the Ohio Environmental Council, Power a Clean Future Ohio, and Scioto Analysis. 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 can expect to incur due to climate change. According to the analysis, 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.
“As we experience more frequent and extreme high heat days, communities will need to retrofit buildings with air conditioning and operate additional cooling centers. As we experience increased flooding and extreme weather events, communities will need to fix roads, power lines, and other infrastructure. The climate costs on our communities are staggering,” said Nolan Rutschilling, Managing Director of Energy Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council. “Today’s hearing underscores the importance of addressing the climate crisis at all levels of government.”
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.
For more information on the report, please visit: https://bit.ly/OHclimatecosts
To watch the hearing, please visit: https://www.banking.senate.gov/hearings/borrowed-time-the-economic-costs-of-climate-change
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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.
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.
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.