Power A Clean Future

Power a Clean Future in Your Community

Across the nation, we’re seeing communities determine what’s best for themselves when the people at the top won’t listen. Multiple states have passed aggressive clean energy laws and pledged to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions. Through local, community-driven change, we can make it happen in Ohio, too.

Some Ohio cities have already taken steps towards a clean energy future. Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Lakewood have all committed to meeting a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 or sooner. Athens has declared a climate emergency and the city’s voters approved a carbon fee on electric bills.

Rural communities are incorporating renewable energy in ways that are best for them, too. Paulding County has welcomed wind farms into the area and is reaping the economic benefits. Wind farms have provided $2.5 million annually to the county government, and the Timber Road Wind Farm alone has paid over $12 million through 2018 for land leases to local farmers. This supplemental income for farmers is especially important after difficult years like 2019, when heavy rains delayed and prevented the planting of crops. Side effects of climate change like heavy rains and summer heatwaves are only expected to become more frequent throughout the Midwest.

Regardless of where you live, investing in renewable energy is good for our wallets.

The Energy Information Administration projects that renewables will outpace natural gas as our main source of energy by 2045. As renewable energy generation continues to rise, so will the cost of fossil fuels and building the infrastructure to support them. It’s estimated that if our communities don’t make the switch to renewable energy now, we risk costing ratepayers tens of billions of dollars nationwide to bail out utilities that chose to invest in aging technologies.

Reducing carbon emissions, though, is about more than transitioning to renewable energy.

It’s about greening our homes, investing in public transportation, and improving our health. Local energy efficiency programs increase the affordability of our households’ energy bills. Investments in public transportation, like improved infrastructure and electrified fleets, will reduce carbon output in a sector that is responsible for nearly 30% of the U.S.’s carbon dioxide emissions. Decreasing carbon emissions from the transportation and power sectors will also mean a decrease in other pollutants and the health problems that come with them, like increased rates of asthma.

If we don’t reduce carbon emissions, the effects of climate change in the Midwest will only worsen. This includes more heatwaves, heavier rainfall, and flooding. Not only will this continue to hurt our farmers, but it will put the most vulnerable among us at risk. Heatwaves can worsen air pollution, ultimately having the worst effects on low-income communities and communities of color that are already disproportionately hurt by air pollution. The changing weather can also worsen the algal bloom in Lake Erie, as we saw in 2019 when heavy spring rainfall and a warm summer with calm winds created an algal bloom eight times the size of Cleveland. Heavy rainfall also put Lake Erie at record high water levels in summer 2019, making coastal Ohio cities more susceptible to flooding.

There are many ways to reduce our carbon emissions, but the first step is to make the commitment. Three Ohio cities have already pledged to go 100% renewable, a promise that will drastically cut their carbon emissions upon implementation. Learn more about Power a Clean Future Ohio's efforts for community-driven change at poweracleanfuture.org

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