The first humans to inhabit what today is known as Ohio were hunter-gatherers who lived at least 13 thousand years ago. More recently, but prior to European colonization, Native American tribes including the Erie, Kickapoo, and Shawnee tribes called the state’s 41 thousand square miles home. Today, over 11.5 million people live in Ohio much of which is covered by the Appalachian Plateau, which boasts terrain more rugged than the low-lying Great Lakes Plains of Ohio’s northern region.
Climate change is threatening Ohio’s water systems. Over 400 thousand people live in areas that are at an elevated risk of flooding. The number of heavy downpours per year has increased steadily since 1950, and rainfall during the four wettest days of the year has increased about 35% in the last 50 years. Warmer waters also affect the water quality of Lake Erie, which 12 million people—and many Ohioans—depend on for drinking water. Algae blooms more readily both in warm water and after severe storms when pollutants increase that run off from land into the lake. It got so bad in 2014, that an algae bloom in Lake Erie prompted the city of Toledo to ban drinking and cooking with tap water.
Between 2012 and 2019, Ohio’s natural gas production increased by more than 30 times, almost entirely due to Utica Shale. Ohio continues to rely heavily on coal, and 2019 was the first year that natural gas generated more of Ohio’s in-state electricity than coal even as its natural gas production was down in 2020, which can likely be attributed to the economic crisis prompted by Covid-19 (8). Ohio is one of the top ten coal-consuming states and more than three times as much coal is consumed in Ohio than is produced. Renewable energy accounts for almost 3% of Ohio’s electricity generation, 60% of which is wind energy.
In 2008, the Ohio General Assembly established the Renewable Portfolio Standard for Ohio-owned utilities and any competitive electrical seller in the state, mandating that these companies must source 12.5% of their portfolio from renewable resources. A 2019 bill signed by Governor DeWine decreased that standard to 8.5%, an extremely disappointing development for those advocating for a transition to a renewable economy. On the positive side, in September, 2020, Ohio has approved North America’s first freshwater offshore wind project — six wind-turbines to be installed in Lake Erie — clearing a major hurdle. With some details still to be worked out regarding mitigating harm to animals, the farm is scheduled to be operational by 2022.
Ohio has not developed a state-wide climate adaptation plan. However, individual cities like Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati all, principally in 2018, have developed their own various climate adaptation plans.
By Rob Moore 03/06/23
With all the drama surrounding the Householder trial for racketeering, it can be easy to forget the bill behind the former Ohio Speaker of the House’s alleged $60 million payoff from First Energy power company.
By Anthony Elder 02/28/23
At the recent Greater Cleveland Partnership Summit, Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability director Mike Foley championed the benefits of renewable, electricity-based energy and the danger to our current electrical grid in one breath.
By Kathiann M. Kowalski 02/21/23
About two decades after cadmium telluride solar panels were commercialized in Ohio, the maturing technology is finding momentum thanks in part to its domestic manufacturing and supply chain. Made-in-Ohio solar panels benefit from federal incentives,…
Thanks to a mountain of deadlines a mile high, I haven't yet been able to focus as much attention on the East Palestine train derailment as I'd like, but two things were very clear to…
Shale gas fueled a boom in the drilling industry and has provided cheaper fuel, displacing dirtier coal to generate electricity. It’s also feeding a spinoff industry in chemicals. Shell is building a multi-billion-dollar petrochemical plant…
By Robert Zullo 02/16/23
Across the country, new renewable energy development has drawn heated opposition that has birthed, in many cases, bans, moratoriums and other restrictions. ...
By Naomi Lachance 02/14/23
The oil and gas industry and its political allies are promoting the use of natural gas as a climate-friendly alternative to other harmful energy sources, ignoring its negative impacts on both the planet and public…
By Randi Pokladnik 02/10/23
According to the International Energy Agency report, solar now provides the cheapest electrical energy in the world. Major companies are investing in solar for its economic value and to lessen their impacts on the planet.
By Brian Eckhouse and Naureen S. Malik 02/07/23
The greening of red-state America, well underway in the Sun Belt, is now accelerating in the Midwest. Ohio and Indiana — two Republican-led US states long dependent on coal power — are on the verge…
By Carly Wanna 02/06/23
Between last August, when President Joe Biden’s landmark climate bill became law, and the end of January, companies have announced more than 100,000 clean energy jobs in the US, according to an analysis released Monday…
By Maxine Joselow 01/17/23
Conservative groups helped Ohio lawmakers push the narrative that the fuel is clean, documents show. They are taking their campaign to other states.
By Dan Gearino 11/29/22
When Michael Wildermuth was growing up here, the snow sometimes had black specks in it because of pollution from the city’s heavy industry.
PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES
Dayton’s elected leaders have declared a “climate emergency” and pledged to transition electric consumption in the city to all renewable sources in coming decades.
The city of Upper Arlington has completed the latest step in its effort to achieve "zero waste, zero pollution and zero emissions by 2030." City Manager Steve Schoeny authorized the city to enter into a…
This page provides an overview of the steps Ohio is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
Ohio is home to a growing solar market, as more homeowners recognize the benefits of going green. With solar costs falling 43 percent over the past five years, experts anticipate a strong growth projection for…
Ohio is a highly industrialized state that has abundant natural resources. Named after the river that forms its southern boundary, Ohio is a Great Lakes state bordered on the north by Lake Erie, the eleventh-largest…
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.
EcoAdaptpartnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to assess the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to public health in 16 U.S. states.
Between 2017 and 2019, Ohio experienced two severe floods and seven severe storms. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.
In 2008, the Ohio General Assembly established the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for Ohio’s investor-owned distribution utilities and any competitive electric supplier in the state. The standard requires these sellers of electricity to ensure that…
Often dubbed the “Walleye Capital of the World,” Lake Erie has a prominent place in the hearts of Midwesterners. It is the southernmost Great Lake with shores in several states, including Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New…
Ohio’s climate is changing. Most of the state has warmed by about one degree (F) in the last century. Floods are becoming more frequent, and ice cover on the Great Lakes is forming later or…
In Ohio, nearly 400,000 people are living in areas at elevated risk of inland flooding.
Ohio climate and energy facts
Buckeye Power and its 24 member co-ops are committed to safe, reliable, affordable, and economically sustainable power production that is also environmentally responsible. Ohio’s co-ops take a balanced approach to renewable energy. While we continue…
It’s time for Ohio to invest in our future and act on climate. Relying on fossil fuels to produce electricity – such as coal, oil, and natural gas – exposes our communities to dangerous pollution…
The first step in any home or business energy conservation effort should be to implement methods to reduce your current energy consumption and make your home or business energy efficient. Once you have conducted an…
Despite policymakers continued attempts to stifle Ohio’s renewable energy economy, a representative survey conducted by Climate Nexus, Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication, and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found…
Renewable energy derives power from naturally and consistently occurring resources such as sunlight, wind, waves, and tides, the running water of a river, or the natural heat of the earth. Electricity or heat energy generated…
A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future.
By John Funk 03/09/20
One year into his first term, Ohio’s top utility regulator, Samuel Randazzo, has signaled that winning approval to build and operate wind and solar projects in the state could be even more difficult in the…
By Beth Burger 03/07/20
The nonpartisan, nonprofit group World War Zero is hosting a town hall-style meeting Sunday at Otterbein University, where former Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and former U.S. Secretary of State…
By Nick Evans 02/17/20
As part of WOSU’s 2020 election coverage, we asked listeners what issues they’re prioritizing this year. A recent national study suggests the American response to climate change is becoming more important to voters - a…
By Mary Kuhlman 01/27/20
Ohio is the "birthplace of aviation," but it's also home to many other key industries. And a new report says climate change is affecting the viability of auto suppliers, farms, manufacturers and other businesses in…
By Ben Garbarek 01/24/20
Scientists said 2019 was the second warmest year on record. Central Ohio is more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average since 1951 according to AccuWeather. The effects of climate change may be devastating to…
By Oliver Morrison 01/24/20
Anthony Wolkiewicz had his picture taken with Fred Rogers while working at WQED in 1977. Rogers made a special point to ask about Wolkiewicz's youngest son. "Who is this? I don't remember him in my neighborhood,"…
By Alexandra Kanik 01/24/20
Just before dawn in January 2018, 27 barges were floating like a net along the banks of the Ohio River, downstream of the city of Pittsburgh. Instead of fish, the fleet caught chunks of ice that…
By Sharon Zhang 01/05/20
With no shortage of wide-open land, Ohio is ripe for a transition to renewable energy, but instead the state has become a hotbed for corporate-driven attacks on wind energy. As a result of increasingly restrictive…
By Kelsey Misbrener 10/22/19
The city council representing the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, Ohio, passed a resolution establishing a goal of 100% clean, renewable energy. Lakewood joins Cleveland and Cincinnati as the third Ohio city, and the first suburb,…
By David Roberts 07/27/19
Amid a flurry of ambitious state action on climate change policy, the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature has just passed an energy bill that represents an enormous step backward. It is the most counterproductive and corrupt piece…
By Dan Gearino 07/26/19
Opponents fear the law will send the growing wind and solar industry to neighboring states while Ohio homeowners are stuck boosting old, uneconomical power plants.
By Andy Chow 07/26/19
Ohio legislators have passed new energy laws that affects everyone’s electric bills and change the state’s course on green energy policies. But it can be easy to get bogged down by all the information contained…
By Jeff St. John 07/18/19
A setback for House Bill 6, with House and Senate versions at odds. But FirstEnergy’s threat to shutter plants without state support could force final passage next month.
By Juanita Constible 07/09/19
A new report released by EcoAdapt with the support of NRDC finds that public health departments in 16 U.S. states are building their capacity to deal with the myriad health harms of climate disruption—even if…
By Daniel Sawmiller 05/21/19
As time begins to run out for the controversial energy legislation (HB 6), both sides of aisle are spending significant time debating the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. On one side, there is…
By Samantha Williams 03/29/19
The renewable energy boom that has been gaining momentum over the last few years was confirmed by new data released this month showing that wind and solar generation has nearly doubled in the U.S. over…
By Stephanie Steinbrecher 09/20/18
On Thursday, September 20, the City of Cleveland became the first municipality in Ohio to commit to powering itself with 100 percent clean and renewable electricity. At Mayor Frank Jackson’s 10th Annual Sustainable Cleveland Summit,…
As the Trump Administration puts efforts into weakening the Clean Power Plan, renewable energy is still increasing in Ohio. According to a new report by Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center, Ohio went from producing…
By Jason Plautz 06/19/18
The City of Columbus, OH is offering $30,000 in rebates to taxi companies to replace existing vehicles with electric cars. The seed money will cover 10 electric vehicles and is meant to study the feasibility…
A decade ago, Ohio became the 25th state to embrace requirements and inducements to lure utilities away from coal. Studies suggested the law would help create clean energy jobs and boost the Ohio economy—and it…