Climate Letter for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Dear Governor DeWine,
State climate planning is critical to ensuring that science-based targets are met to stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Across the country about 34 states have adopted or are in the process of adopting a climate action plan, Ohio is not among them. This is unacceptable.
Across Ohio, climate change is already causing extreme heat, flooding, damage to infrastructure, negative public health outcomes, agricultural loss, transportation challenges, and degradation of air and water quality. The most recent IPCC report, released on Feb 28, 2022 states plainly, “The extent and magnitude of climate change impacts are larger than estimated in previous assessments (high confidence).” This means that we must act swiftly and decisively to stave off the worst effects of climate change for Ohio.
I’d like to lift up specific water and air quality issues of concern for my business:
Climate change is already negatively affecting water quality in Lake Erie. As a member of the Great Lakes Business Network, I recognize the economic benefits of a healthy Lake Erie. However, warmer water, more intense spring precipitation events, and increased nutrient run-off has increased toxic algal blooms, threatening municipal water supplies for 11 million people and the future recreation based businesses. Our state’s Lake Erie shoreline sustains over 30% of the state’s total tourism related dollars, valued at $15 billion annually. The region also supports over 100,000 Ohio tourism-related jobs and generates an additional $750 million in state and local taxes. The state needs to create a strong Climate Action Plan to address the health of Lake Erie in particular.
Climate change worsens air pollution and respiratory illness. Higher temperatures exacerbate ground level ozone, according to the EPA. This problem will only worsen as the climate warms – which spells trouble for cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati, who already rank 31 and 32 respectively for the highest ozone days out of 226 metropolitan areas according to the American Lung Association. Even at low concentrations, ozone can trigger a variety of health problems such as lung irritation and inflammation, asthma attacks, wheezing, coughing, and increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses. Additional consequences of a warming climate will also be suffered by vulnerable populations as a result of worsening heat waves. The bottom line is that declining air quality is also bad for business. According to joint studies from NOAA and the EPA, “Poor air quality is responsible for an estimated more than 100,000 premature deaths in the United States each year. Costs from air pollution-related illness are estimated at $150 billion per year.” Inaction is bad for Ohio businesses and Ohio families.
My local business, calls on you for stronger leadership in rapidly decarbonizing our economy. Our environment and our economy depend upon swift action to address the climate crisis. Together, we must ensure that Ohio doesn’t miss out on the competitive advantages brought by embracing a just transition to renewable energy.
I urge you to begin work on a strong Climate Action Plan for the state of Ohio so that our state might continue to prosper in the face of the climate crisis. We, the undersigned, would be happy to schedule a meeting with you in the near future to discuss our concerns virtually or in-person.