The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has released a task force report, ‘Embracing the Future: The Midwest and a New National Energy Policy,’ that calls upon the Midwest to turn the challenge of energy and climate policy creation into its economic advantage.
With new data and analysis, the report shows that while the costs of curbing carbon emissions are stark, the costs of delaying action are worse. Prompt enactment of national climate change legislation is essential to the Midwest's future prosperity and competitiveness, the report says.
The report shows that the Midwest's economy is significantly more carbon-intensive than the national economy. Midwestern states account for 29% of national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and roughly 4% to 5% of global GHG emissions. At the same time, the region is likely to be disproportionately affected by a new national energy policy, and thus has a considerable stake in its development. If Midwestern interests are not taken into account, national energy policy reform is unlikely to succeed, the report says.
‘The fate of the environment and the economic competitiveness of the Midwest are inextricably linked,’ says Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa and task force co-chair. ‘It is only by building a robust and competitive post-carbon economy in the Midwest that we can tackle climate change. Likewise, only movement toward a post-carbon economy can provide the foundations for future growth, prosperity and jobs in our region.’
While federal action is essential, the report argues that the Midwest cannot afford to wait for it. Individual states and the broader region must begin moving forward on a number of fronts.
These include maximizing the energy efficiency of buildings, industries and transportation systems; modernizing outdated infrastructure; developing new energy technologies; engaging the region's universities in leading-edge energy research and innovation; addressing critical workforce issues; and improving regional coordination and cross-jurisdictional decision-making processes.
The report is signed by 32 experts and stakeholders, including Midwestern political, commercial, academic, environmental and civic leaders.
For more information, visit www.thechicagocouncil.org.
SOURCE: The Chicago Council on Global Affairs