COLUMBUS — A new coalition is inviting communities to join an effort to create what it calls a healthier and more prosperous Ohio for generations to come.
Power a Clean Future Ohio is comprised of environmental, clean energy and other organizations that are working with cities and towns to help identify opportunities to reduce climate pollution.
"The challenge that we have before us when it comes to climate change requires all hands on deck," says Joe Flarida, the coalition's executive director. "It requires everyone to come to the table to try to develop solutions.
"We see local governments as just one piece of that. But they have a great opportunity to inspire their communities to act with them. "
Flarida said there are four key target areas: renewable energy, transportation electrification, energy efficiency and land management. And he says the goal is to find both big and small clean energy goals that make sense for each local community.
Ohio is sixth among states for carbon dioxide emissions, according to the latest rankings from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Some Ohio cities and towns, including Lakewood near Cleveland, have already made their own clean energy commitments.
Tom Bullock, a Lakewood Council member, said his community adopted a resolution for 100 percent clean energy by 2025.
"We're all the time working on making our city walkable, beautiful, sustainable, so clean power use fits into that broader concept," he said. "And everybody that I talk to is very supportive, and they want the city to show the way for the business sector to also make use of this."
Bullock points out that clean energy technologies such as solar and wind are simpler to install and much more affordable than 25 years ago. He notes that many major businesses are already reaping the benefits.
"You see General Motors, Budweiser, Proctor and Gamble, Facebook, Google — they're all using solar or wind, not only because it's green, but because it's cheap," he said. "And so it's just good dollars and cents. It's good business sense."
In Ohio, 39 Fortune 500 companies have 100 percent renewable energy goals.