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Expert: Global Climate Change Deal Could Secure Ohio’s Clean Energy Future

December 17, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio - International climate change talks are in their final days in Copenhagen. While no treaty is expected at this meeting, positive groundwork toward an agreement for next year has implications for the Buckeye State.

According to Tom Bullock with Pew Environment Group in Ohio, any progress could start shifting how energy is made and used. The more the world needs clean energy, He says, the greater the opportunity for Ohio, which is ranked fourth nationally for clean energy growth.

"Over the last 10 years, jobs overall shrank but the clean energy sector grew. We have seen 35,000-plus jobs since 2007, and growing. This is one of the bright spots in our economy."

Ohio already has a state law mandating that at least 12.5 percent of electricity sold must be generated by renewable sources by 2025, which has led to the current production of components for wind turbines, solar panels, fuel sources and other clean energy sources. A global climate change agreement would accelerate investments in those areas, Bullock adds, and ensure strong growth over the next decade.

"It's Ohio's long-time expertise in engineering and manufacturing that's front and center here, as well as research. There are some agricultural aspects, too, and Ohio's strong in both manufacturing and agriculture."

Sticking points in the talks include curbs on carbon emissions, carbon debts for developing countries and the legal structure of the planned post-2012 climate pact. President Barack Obama has been reaching out to other world leaders in hopes of striking a compromise; he arrives at the conference on its final day, Friday.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH