COLUMBUS, OH - As international leaders prepare for the United Nations Climate Summit in New York, a new report from Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center shows that Ohio's power plants dump as much carbon into the atmosphere as the entire nation of Kuwait. The report also ranks the Top Ten dirtiest plants in the nation. The Gavin plant in Cheshire, owned by American Electric Power, comes in at 6th. Environmental advocates, a climate scientist, and a children's asthma specialist pointed to the data to support proposed limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
"When power plants here in Ohio create as much pollution as an entire country, we know the climate is in trouble," said Nate Lotze, a Campaign Organizer with Environment Ohio. "It's time to stop ignoring the nation's largest global warming polluters, and invest in clean energy."
The Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center report, America's Dirtiest Power Plants, comes as world leaders and thousands of activists converge in New York City seeking solutions for climate change, which scientists have linked to extreme weather like floods, droughts, and heat waves.
The report also comes as the Environmental Protection Agency collects public comments on the proposed Clean Power Plan, which would be the first-ever policy to limit carbon pollution from power plants. If enacted, it will represent the biggest step any nation has taken to address the reality of climate change.
"In order to avoid large-scale, potentially catastrophic environmental change, change that will affect us and the planet for many centuries to come, we must reduce CO2 emissions from coal. And there is no way to do that without dealing with the emissions being generated by coal burning power plants," said Ohio State University climate expert Alvaro Montenegro.
By comparing carbon emissions from American power plants to the total carbon emissions of entire countries, the Environment Ohio analysis illustrates why limiting pollution from coal-fired plants would make such a big impact. Key findings include:
- If the fleet of American power plants was a country, it would be the 3rd largest carbon polluter in the world, behind only the U.S and China.
- Ohio's 92.1 MMT of carbon pollution from power plants rank 5th in the nation.
- The Gavin plant in Cheshire is the state's dirtiest plant, and the 6th dirtiest in America.
- EPA's Clean Power Plan would reduce as much carbon pollution by 2030 as the entire country of Canada--the world's 7th largest polluter--does today.
The Clean Power Plan would also spur growth in clean energy industries like wind and solar, for which there is vast potential across the nation and in Ohio. The Blue Creek wind farm in Van Wert County already produces enough energy to power 87,500 homes, while providing over 300 jobs.
There would be health benefits as well. According Karen McCoy, Chief of Pulmonary Medicine at Nationwide Children's Hospital, "the adverse health effects of particulate air pollution are underestimated... in addition to an increase in asthma attacks and restricted activity, there are higher overall death rates reported in on days and in locations of higher particulate air pollution compared to lower air pollution days and locations. Thus, all persons are negatively impacted by air pollution."
Americans have submitted more than 6 million comments to EPA supporting limits on carbon pollution from power plants; and more than a thousand people testified in support of the Clean Power Plan at hearings held across the country this summer. Local elected officials, small businesses owners and dozens of members of Congress have all voiced support for limits on carbon pollution.
"The Clean Power Plan has given Ohio a huge opportunity to take charge of our energy future," said Lotze. "Senator Brown has supported climate action in the past, and now it's especially important that he stand up to polluters and back EPA's plan."