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Indiana climate change report shows a shift in energy demand impacting bills

The report predicts the future of Indiana looking a lot warmer. While that can mean lower heating bills in the winter, it can also mean higher cooling bills in the summer.

Posted: Feb 16, 2019 9:22 PM
Updated: Feb 18, 2019 6:31 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The demands for heating and cooling energy in Indiana are changing according to Purdue University’s Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment team. They released a report that predicts the future of Indiana looking a lot warmer.

While that can mean lower heating bills in the winter, it can also mean higher cooling bills in the summer.

Purdue Political Science Professor, Leigh Raymond was a lead author in the report. Other authors include Purdue and Purdue Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researchers.

Raymond said lawmakers and voters can play a big role in how severe Hoosier's will feel the effects of climate change.

“Anytime you're talking about an issue that affects energy, that's an important issue and we have to be really thoughtful about what we do and how we do that in a way,” said Raymond. “Especially in terms of policy that not only limits the potential negative effects but if anything, actually can potentially generate some positive economic effects.”

One hot button political issue with climate change is the use of coal. While the industry brings in jobs, research shows the use of coal is toxic to our airways and a contribution to why airways are heating up. Right now, 75% of Indiana’s electricity is generated by coal. The climate report predicts by mid-century, Indiana will shift away from using coal for energy. Natural gas or renewable sources like wind power will be of more use.

“Natural gas prices have dropped dramatically in the last 15 years. Natural gas is a cleaner fuel than coal so there are a lot of reasons why that shift has already been happening,” said Raymond.

Raymond, as well as the other authors,  hope the report brings a new awareness to Hoosiers.

“Climate change is something we ought to be concerned about and we need to think sensibly and pragmatically about practical solutions to that problem,” said Raymond.

IN CCIA is hosting a community briefing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19. The event will be held in the University Library Room, UL 1116. It's open to the public.

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