Marc Lefkowitz | 08/26/09 @ 10:16am
Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation, gave his scare-you-straight climate change presentation at the Akron Roundtable today. Like Al Gore, Schweiger's presentation is peppered with scientifically rigorous stats like species loss of 20-30% by the end of the century, and frightening videos of boiling seas in Russia (from massive releases of methane). He even brought it home for Ohio, insisting business as usual will lead to serious climate challenges this century.
"It may not feel like it, but Ohio is moving south 30 feet per day. Ohio's summers are going to feel like Arkansas' summers."
Economic forecasts call for Ohio to lose $1 billion in shipping and manufacturing if Lake Erie water losses come to pass.
The flip side to business as usual is 'the green shovel'.
"We have a choice. Let's dig our way out."
Ohio's recent investments in solar power near Toledo and in fuel cells in Canton have led to economic expansion (Clean energy jobs in Ohio grew 7.3% from 1998 to 2008 compared to 2.2% in the previous ten year span. Schweiger cited a study that predicts 80,000 new jobs can be created in Ohio with a big state investment.).
How will Ohio fare with federal carbon cap and trade legislation?
The House put mechanisms in place to overcompensate for coal heavy states like Ohio, Schweiger said. The cost of cap and trade and weaning from coal and oil shouldn't exceed 48 cents per day for each consumer, he added. Even China, the most polluted place on the planet, has quickly shifted its economic focus, investing 7% of the GDP in developing the manufacturing of wind, solar and new technology.
"It's urgent we get out in front of that and not let China take all of the opportunity."
Read Schweiger's blog here.