LEARNER: “The Midwest is the center of our nation’s climate change problems. We’re also one of the centers of the solutions.”

That’s Howard Learner of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center. He says six Midwest states generate almost a quarter of all carbon pollution nationally.

Problem solution graphic

That’s because the Midwest is the nation’s crossroads, and is crisscrossed by cars, trains, and airplanes. It’s also home to many old, coal-fired power plants.

But some of the same things that make the region a big polluter also make it ripe for solutions.

LEARNER: “We have a tremendous opportunity here as the nation’s transportation center, to use more efficient cars and trucks and public transit, higher speed rail.”

Howard Learner
Howard Learner

The Midwest could also move from producing coal-fired power to more clean energy. Wind farms are already booming in Illinois and Iowa, and the region is poised for solar growth.

LEARNER: “Cloudy Chicago is not as sunny as Arizona, but there are a lot of buildings, a lot of warehouses, a lot of opportunities for solar to thrive here in the Midwest.”

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So Learner expects the region will soon generate less pollution and more solutions.

LEARNER: “I’m optimistic that the pragmatic, practical Midwest heartland can be a leader when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas pollution.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

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