Iowa Scientists Release 2014 Climate Statement
Iowans are experiencing real impacts from climate change, including heavier rains and increased flooding. Human health effects from climate change are just as real and are already being felt in Iowa, according to a statement by statewide group of 180 Iowa scientists.
“Climate change is negatively impacting our water quality, increasing exposures to allergens and air pollutants, introducing new infectious diseases, and imposing increased stress on Iowa families,” said Peter Thorne, Professor and Head of the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa.
The fourth annual statement, “Iowa Climate Statement 2014: Impacts on the Health of Iowans,” released October 10, 2014, was signed by 180 science faculty and researchers from 38 Iowa colleges and universities.
The scientists say the health‐related effects of extreme weather events are the most obvious, immediate, and direct. These events are increasing in frequency and severity as our atmosphere warms and holds more moisture.
“Repeated heavy rains increase human exposure to toxic chemicals and raw sewage that are spread by flood waters,” said David Osterberg, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa.
Degraded water quality is also directly associated with climate change. “In farm states like Iowa, higher water temperatures combine with high nutrient levels to create large harmful algal blooms which make water unsuitable for human and animal consumption and for recreation,” stated Osterberg.
“The strong support for the statement reflects the consensus among Iowa science faculty and research staff that action is needed now to lower emissions and find new ways to adapt to climate changes in order to reduce the risks of new health problems,” stated Dave Courard‐Hauri, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Drake University.
Climate change is also making it more difficult for many Iowans to breathe. Plants produce more pollen, pollen that is increasingly potent in response to warmer temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels in the air.
“The number of Iowans with respiratory problems such as childhood asthma has increased dramatically since the 1980s. In many cases, this is linked to increased exposures to flood molds and to higher indoor moisture, as well as to lung‐damaging ozone and fine particulate matter from burning fossil fuels,” said Thorne.
“New infectious diseases are becoming more common in the Midwest as the organisms that carry them move north due to rising temperatures. Disease carrying mosquitos and ticks are living longer and expanding their range due to increasing temperatures, more rainfall, and longer summers,” said Yogesh Shah, Associate Dean, Department of Global Health, Des Moines University.
“Our changing climate’s influence on mental health is less obvious, but it is well established that thousands of Iowans have been impacted by stress from the loss of homes and income due to climate‐ related flooding and drought,” Mary Mincer Hansen, Adjunct Professor, College of Health Sciences MPH Program, Des Moines University.
“As long as greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, climate‐related health problems will continue to grow,” said Neil Bernstein, Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University. The scientists agree that adopting strong climate‐change policies will play a vital role in diminishing human suffering and illness now and for generations to come.
“It is clear that expanding energy efficiency and clean renewable energy efforts will have the co‐benefits of reducing air pollution and the creation of additional jobs and economic opportunities for Iowans,” stated Bernstein.
For more information on climate change in Iowa visit:
Assessment of Potential Impacts of Climate Changes on Iowa Using Current Trends and Future Projections - Eugene S. Takle Director, Climate Science Program
EPA Public Listening Sessions on Greenhouse Gas
EPA is holding public listening sessions across the country to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.
The feedback from these sessions will play an important role in helping EPA develop smart, cost-effective guidelines that reflect the latest and best information available. The agency will seek additional public input during the notice and comment period once it issues a proposal by June 2014. Click here to see the remaining time and locations.
Click here to see the remaining time and locations.
Sierra Club members from EPA’s Region VII states in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri gave their comments at the session held in Lenexa, Kansas, on November 4. Click here to see photos of that event.
April 2013: Global Temps 13th Highest on Record
Year-to-date eighth warmest period on record; North American snow cover extent third largest on record
The globally-averaged temperature for April 2013 was the 13th warmest April since record keeping began in 1880. April 2013 also marks the 37th consecutive April and 338th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.
Many areas of the world experienced higher-than-average monthly temperatures, including southern Europe, central Asia, the Russian Far East, southwestern Australia, southern Argentina, and western Greenland. Meanwhile, most of North America, northern and western Europe, northeastern Asia, central South America, and much of equatorial Africa were notably below average.
Scientists Call for State Action on Climate Change
from across Iowa are calling on state officials to develop policy and take
action to address the causes and effects of climate change in Iowa.
a statement distributed to all Iowa legislators on February 21, 2012, 44 scientists
from 28 colleges and universities in Iowa warn that “changes in rainfall
patterns and other climate indicators have emerged as the latest and potentially
the most serious challenge to Iowans' lives and livelihoods.” They call for
state and local officials to “acknowledge the overwhelming balance of evidence
for the underpinning causes of climate change, to develop appropriate policy
responses, and to develop local and statewide strategies to adapt to near-term
changes in climate.” Read
statement was drafted by four researchers from the Climate Science Program at
Iowa State University, including Prof. Gene Takle, director of the program, who
spoke about climate impacts in Iowa to an environmental protection caucus
meeting today at the State Capitol, along with Prof. Jerald Schnoor, co-director
of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research at the University
need to know that scientists who live and work in communities across our state
understand that climate change is real and is already affecting Iowans and
Iowa’s economy,” said David Courard-Hauri, professor of environmental
science and policy at Drake University who coordinated the signatures onto the
statement. “There are things that policy makers in Iowa can and should do to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climatic changes that can no
longer be avoided.”
of Americans support a revenue-neutral carbon tax (Yale/GMU)
Americans from Global Warming Pollution
Climate Disruption: Is Extreme Weather the New Normal?
In November 2011, the International Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special
report examining the link between extreme weather events and global climate
change. The report – a culmination
of a 2-year process involving 100 scientists and climate policy experts –
concludes that climate change is indeed responsible for the rise in number of
extreme weather events. IPPC says it is “likely” (a 66% to 100% probability)
that the increased frequency of extreme weather events is a result of greenhouse
gas emissions from human activity – including coal-fired power plants, fuels
burned for transportation, and deforestation. Researchers note that “economic
losses from weather- and climate-related disasters are increasing,” and they
warn that more extreme weather events are coming our way this century. This
year, Americans have endured a record-number of extreme weather events, such as
intense summer heat waves, severe droughts in Texas and Oklahoma, and flooding
in Mississippi. According to the National
Climatic Data Center, extreme weather events in 2011 have already cost the
United States over $50 billion in economic damages.
In response to the IPCC report, the Yale Project on
Climate Change Communication released new
data showing that a majority of Americans believe “global warming” made
recent extreme weather events worse. Interestingly, people are most likely to
believe that global warming intensified heat waves and droughts. They are less
inclined to say that extreme snowfalls or hurricanes were made worse by global
warming. I attribute this pattern to Yale’s use of “global warming”
instead of “climate change” or (our favorite) “climate disruption.” The
term “warming” inherently highlights rising global temperatures and ignores
other climate changes (i.e. cold temperatures and more or less precipitation).
This report re-confirms that climate disruption is already happening, and that human activity is playing a role. Scientific evidence is mounting, yet many in Congress continue to deny that climate disruption is happening at all. Talking about the connection between climate and extreme weather can be a pathway to greater public concern and support for climate policies. The scientific evidence is consistent with what people intuitively understand: the changing climate is impacting the weather in our backyards and taking a toll on our pocketbooks. We must demand that our leaders combat climate disruption by moving America beyond dirty fossil fuels and towards a clean energy economy. We simply can’t afford to ignore climate disruption any longer.
Last updated 10.10.14
Warming's Terrifying New Math
by Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012
Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is
by Henry Fountain, The New York Times, July 26, 2012
Strong summer thunderstorms that pump water high into the upper atmosphere pose a threat to the protective ozone layer over the United States, researchers said on Thursday, drawing one of the first links between climate change and ozone loss over populated areas.
by David Roberts, ThinkProgress Climate Progress, March 27, 2012
After long anticipation and many delays, EPA is expected to issue its first limits on carbon pollution from power plants this week.
With Republicans increasingly desperate in the face of economic recovery, they are sure to treat this as a lifeline, a focus for renewed attacks. They will try to make the rule a stand-in for government overreach, job-killing regulations, and Obama’s secret plan to raise gas prices. Also probably Sharia.
by Evan Lehmann, E&E Publishing, May 7, 2012
The Heartland Institute's failed billboard campaign attacking the existence of climate change is driving a surge of corporate donors to abandon the group and prompting a mutiny among its Washington-based staff, which is decamping for less volatile surroundings, according to sources. Read more.
by Brad Johnson, ThinkProgress Green, February 14, 2012
Internal documents reveal that the Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank funded by the Koch brothers, Microsoft, and other top corporations, is planning to develop a “global warming curriculum” for elementary schoolchildren that presents climate science as “a major scientific controversy.”
by Donald Cohen for YES! Magazine
July 11, 2011
Over and over, the regulations that the Chamber of Commerce says will be catastrophic have become the basic safeguards we take for granted.
There’s an old adage that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. That seems to be the unofficial motto of the United States Chamber of Commerce, which has spent the last forty years repeating (and repeating and repeating) the mantra that government regulations on businesses “kill jobs” and economic growth. But their predictions have been repeatedly wrong. The laws they warned would bring economic ruin have become the basic health, safety, and environmental safeguards we now take for granted.
NASA has developed a new Climate Kids website targeting grades 4-6, the site answers questions about global climate change using simple illustrations, humor, interactivity and age-appropriate language. The site also includes cartoon characters, Earth science-related games and profiles of people working toward slowing down climate change. Check out the website here.
John P. Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, delivered a keynote address at the Kavli Prize Science Forum in Oslo, Norway, in September 2010. See his presentation here.