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Report and website to help Ohio prepare for future carbon legislation


How could new federal energy and climate policies impact Ohio's economy? What actions should businesses and communities take now to prepare?

To answer these questions and more, two Ohio universities recently completed a collaborative study of the state's carbon emissions in anticipation of future regulatory changes.

Researchers from Ohio University's George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology partnered with researchers from The Ohio State University's Center for Resilience in the College of Engineering and John Glenn School of Public Affairs to complete work on a first-of-its-kind comprehensive study of how Ohio could be affected by such policies.

The report - Assuring Ohio's Competitiveness in a Carbon-Constrained World - provides state policymakers with options to manage carbon emissions in Ohio. Funded by a $500,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the study is a component of the State Energy Program, which included programs aimed at stimulating the creation and retention of jobs, saving energy, increasing renewable energy generation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Assuring Ohio's Competiveness in a Carbon-Constrained World provides policymakers with: a) a statewide inventory of greenhouse gas emissions; b) a 700+ page report highlighting federal carbon policy scenarios and the state's ability to succeed within the scenarios and; c) an online modeling tool that demonstrates the effect policy scenarios may have on the state's economy, society and environment. Together, these three resources offer Ohio businesses, communities and policymakers the information needed to overcome the uncertainty of ever-evolving carbon policy.

According to the report, Ohio is at increasing risk of becoming noncompliant with tightening air quality standards, which could impact the ability to establish new industrial facilities and economic growth.

"Ohio is the seventh highest energy-consuming state in the country," said Scott Miller, director of the Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environment at Ohio University. "This study allows us to take a look at what we need to do to turn this around in Ohio and what we need to do to stay on top of environmental issues and make Ohio competitive."

The modeling tool - Dynamic Energy-Economic Policy Simulation (DEEPS) - allows policymakers to analyze the social, economic, and environmental effects of possible carbon and energy policies upon key indicators such as energy costs, economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Integrated assessments of this type [DEEPS] have been recognized by the United Nations and other organizations as an essential methodology for investigating pathways to sustainability," said Joseph Fiksel, executive director for The Ohio State University Center for Resilience. "We are delighted about positioning the State of Ohio at the forefront of this emerging field."

The universities collaborated with The Millennium Institute and High Road Strategies LLC, and received valuable guidance from an advisory committee comprised of independent representatives from the agriculture, automotive, consumers, the environmental community, labor, local government, manufacturing and utilities sectors.

The full report and related web-based tools, including the DEEPS model, can be found online at www.ohioenergyresources.com.