Local Impacts—Ohio— PROJECT GREEN AND GREY
“After the final no there comes a yes and on that yes the future of the world hangs” ~Wallace Stevens
Local Impacts of Climate Change
The climate has changed in Virginia but people and governments around the world and here in Virginia are embracing solutions and reducing their carbon footprints. As we work for more clean energy, more efficiency and more effective laws to slow and eventually arrest these changes, please use this local-impacts information sheet to discuss this urgent issue with your legislators.
What follows is a 2014 document from The Climate Reality Project titled, “What does climate change mean for Ohio?,” that lists some of local impacts of climate change.
As you will see from this list, a changing climate is putting a strain on our local economy. One of the many example include the fact that earlier snowmelts and more rain falling in heavier episodes have the potential to increase erosion and sediment transport into the Port of Toledo, one of the busiest ports on the Great Lakes. This may require more frequent dredging to allow ships into/out of the port.
If carbon pollution continues at current rates and temperatures rise as scientists project, the Midwest could warm by as much as 4.9° F by mid-century, and as much as 8.5° F by the end of the century.
In 2012, Ohio ranked eighth out of all U.S. states in the number of heat records set. It set 583 new high-temperature records, three times the expected number. The state saw 49 times more high-temperature records set than low-temperature records that year.
Dangerously hot summer air masses have become more common in Cincinnati over the last six decades. Compared to the 1940s, the city experiences two more days every summer of the hottest temperatures and most humid conditions.
In Toledo, the number of cool, dry days in summer has seen a significant drop, from about 12 per summer in the 1940s and 1950s, to about three in recent years.
By the end of this century, if carbon pollution continues at the current high rates, Cincinnati could face an extra month (~29 days) of summer temperatures above 100° F, compared to the present, and more than 85 days each summer with temperatures over 90° F.
For Cleveland, by the end of the century, climate change could mean approximately three weeks every summer with temperatures over 100° F and more than 60 days each summer over 90° F.
Ohio is seeing more rain (up three inches in the last century) with high rainfall events more common.
Spring flooding could worsen in the Ohio River Basin beyond 2040. Droughts within the Basin could get longer and stretch beyond summer in mid-century and later.
About 80 percent of Ohio’s counties face a higher risk of water shortage by mid-century.
There will be greater risks to public health in the Midwest, from more frequent and intense heat waves, as well as dirtier and more polluted air and water resulting from the effects of climate change.
According to the United States National Climate Assessment, climate change is expected to decrease agricultural productivity in the Midwest over the long term.
The Great Lakes region as a whole is likely to see the range and distribution of commercial and recreational fish species change, the number of invasive species rise, more algae blooms that harm water quality, and healthy beaches for recreation decline overall.
What Has Ohio Started Doing About It?
In 2007, Ohio signed the Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Platform for the Midwest, which set the goal of meeting at least two percent of regional energy demand through energy efficiency by 2015, gaining an additional two percent annually from efficiency improvements after 2015, and deriving 10 percent and 30 percent of the region’s electricity from renewables by 2015 and 2030, respectively.
Ohio is also an observer to the Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, launched in 2007.
Ohio can do more by taking advantage of its significant potential for onshore and offshore wind, and solar energy, among other steps. By doing so, it could create thousands of jobs, and save billions in health costs every year.
The Good News……!
If Ohio and the rest of the world take action and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions dramatically, through the promotion of clean energy, many of the worst impacts will be avoided. Clean energy and efficiency retrofits needed to address this crisis create jobs that cannot be outsourced, benefitting us all.