Alternative energy panel debates science, politics
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009
From wind turbines on Lake Erie to smarter collaboration between OSU and Battelle, ideas for solving the energy and climate change crisis abounded at last night's forum on green energy policy.
Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus, the public forum at the Jewish Community Center featured a lively discussion about alternative energy, the urgency for curbing greenhouse gases, and the need to increase scientific literacy among Americans. The panel was made up of representatives from academia, state and federal government, and environmental advocacy organizations, including:
- Earl Epstein, professor, environmental and natural resources, The Ohio State University;
- Jennifer Miller of the Sierra Club, Ohio Chapter;
- Jim McGregor, executive director, Ohio League of Conservation Voters;
- Cheryl Roberto, commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio;
- Ed Roberts, community liaison for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown; and
- Al Rosenfield, energy specialist for the League of Women Voters of Ohio.
Policy considerations ran the gamut from the upcoming international climate conference in Copenhagen, to the Kerry-Boxer bill under consideration by the U.S. Senate, the Waxman-Markey bill that passed the U.S. House this summer, and SB 221 passed by the Ohio legislature during the 127th General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Strickland.
According to Roberts, the climate bill will not be considered until after the Senate has dispensed with health care reform and banking regulations, pushing any hope for a law into early next year, long after the Copenhagen summit.
A major point of controversy was the declining value of science in American education, science illiteracy among the American public, and how policy decisions tend to be based on politics or building consensus rather than hard science.
Tiffany Dixon chaired the event. Metro League President Janyce Katz moderated the discussion.
Resources from the meeting include:
- League of Women Voters of Ohio Renewable Energy Scorecard
- League of Women Voters of Ohio Energy Conservation Project Annual Report
- Central Ohio Green Pact
- Columbus Green Spot
- How Green Is My Valley? (graphs and statistics)