Richard Lugar Center for Renewable Energy
INDIANAPOLIS -- Experts from across the state came together on July 9 in Indianapolis to discuss clean energy solutions to global warming that will have a positive impact on Indiana's economy and businesses, the environment and national security. The panel was convened by Environment America and the Richard Lugar Center for Renewable Energy in response to the recent U.S. Global Change Research Program report showing that Indiana is already experiencing more extreme storms, drought and flooding due to global warming.
"In Benton County, our primary goal is the preservation of our great agricultural soils," said Benton County Extension Director Jimmy Bricker. "We also need economic development. We found that commercial wind energy has been a win-win for our landowners/farmers and our local economy, which translates to everyone in the county."
"We have to do something now to prevent the worst effects of global warming."- Gabriel Filippelli, IUPUI Chair of Earth Sciences
Clean energy has been a bright spot in our economy in recent years. According to a survey of green businesses by the Pew Charitable Trusts, job growth in the emerging clean energy economy in our country has been more than twice as fast as in the economy as a whole -- 9.1 percent growth in green businesses, compared with 3.8 percent in all businesses combined.
Economists at the University of Massachusetts calculated that a $100 billion investment in building a clean energy economy could create as many as 2 million new, well-paying jobs in the United States in just two years, with 38,000 jobs here in Indiana. The panel of experts agreed that transitioning to a clean energy economy would benefit the state of Indiana.
"We have been growing at a fast pace since introducing our solar attic fan in 2003," said Bill Keith, President of the St. John-based manufacturing company SunRise Solar. "We are keeping jobs in Indiana by buying raw materials locally and assembling the product here as well. In 2003, sales were $40,000 and in 2009, sales will be nearly $4 million."
In addition to creating jobs, jump-starting business and solving global warming, a clean energy economy will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- is responsible for the vast majority of U.S. global warming emissions. Environment America recently calculated that the state of Indiana is on track to spend up to $691 billion dollars on oil, coal and natural gas by 2030 -- 4.9 times the combined annual pay of every Hoosier.
"We have been growing at a fast pace since introducing our solar attic fan in 2003."- Bill Keith, President, SunRise Solar
The report discussed at today's event, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, is the most definitive scientific assessment to date of the impacts of global warming on the United States and reinforces the urgency of acting now to reduce pollution. The report shows that average temperatures in the Midwest have risen in recent decades, with the largest increases in winter. Heavy downpours are now twice as frequent as they were a century ago. Both summer and winter precipitations have been above average for the last three decades, the wettest period in a century. The report projects that the observed patterns of temperature increases and precipitation changes will continue, with larger changes expected under higher emissions scenarios.
"Sizable early cuts in emissions would significantly reduce the pace and the overall amount of climate change," the report says. "Earlier cuts in emissions would have a greater effect in reducing climate change than comparable reductions made later."
"The science is in," said IUPUI Chair of Earth Sciences Gabriel Filippelli. "We have to do something now to prevent the worst effects of global warming. By repowering America with clean energy, we can not only stop the worst effects of global warming, but we can recharge our economy, creating millions of jobs in the process."
Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental organizations advocating for clean air, clean water, and open space.
For more information
LuCinda Hohmann, , 715-379-9412
Kyle Cline, 317-278-4723