COLUMBUS — Businesses around Ohio, including major car manufacturers and specialty coffee roasters, say they are feeling the effects of a changing climate.
According to a new report from the advocacy group Business Forward, volatile weather has entrepreneurs, executives, investors and small business owners re-evaluating their approach to location, construction and asset insurance.
Creekwood Energy Partners near Cincinnati helps clients develop clean energy strategies, and CEO Ron DeLyons explains that the rollback of Ohio’s renewable energy standards put the brakes on the growing demand for clean energy technologies.
“I wouldn’t say that has come to a complete halt, but it certainly has taken many steps back,” he says. “We saw that in Ohio as a huge job creator that could have gone on exponentially had the policies continue to support the growth of renewables.”
The report features dozens of Ohio companies, big and small that have warned investors that climate change is impacting their bottom line.
And the report suggests policies that support investments in cleaner sources of energy can bring economic opportunities to the state.
As a specialty coffee roaster, Kelly Wicks of Bowling Green works with suppliers in Nicaragua. He explains that rising temperatures, drought and extreme rainfall events have made it more difficult to produce coffee beans, which is driving up costs.
“It will increasingly become harder to source top-grade, quality product because it will be harder to grow,” Wicks says. “It will also ultimately then drive the cost of per pound production up, which we’d all like to ensure we keep cost control in line.”
DeLyons contends that a vibrant market needs consistent policy, and that Ohio businesses want policies that can help reduce costs of climate change, and their own carbon footprint.
“There is a groundswell of interest to implore our politicians to rethink how they approach renewable energy,” he points out. “There was a period where Ohio was considered to be one of the success stories of renewable and the market has tended to move around based on policies.”
According to the report, climate change threatens some of Ohio’s key industries, including aerospace, energy utilities, farming, food distributors, railroads and shipping.
Mary Kuhlman is a producer for Ohio News Connection, a statewide news service for the state. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.