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Iowa Climate Statement 2015 Calls for Presidential Candidates to Address Climate Change in Iowa


Des Moines — Over the past four years, Iowa researchers and educators at nearly every college and university in the state have produced annual statements describing the real impacts Iowans are experiencing from climate change.

“The upcoming Iowa caucuses provide Iowans with a unique opportunity to bring their questions about the need for climate action into the national conversation,” said David Courard‐Hauri, Associate Professor, Director, Environmental Science and Policy Program at Drake University.

“As presidential candidates come to our state to ask Iowans for their votes, Iowans should ask these candidates how they will address the negative impacts that Iowa farmers and communities have and will continue to experience,” said Courard‐Hauri.

The statement that was released today asks all candidates to answer the following question. Iowa farmers and communities are already adapting to climate change, and 188 researchers and scientists at 39 Iowa colleges and universities have signed a statement warning that its effects are expected to get worse. What polices do you support to address this critical issue?

“Iowans are experiencing real impacts from climate change, including heavier rains, increased flooding and negative effects on human health. It is time to hear directly from presidential candidates their ideas for addressing this critical issue,” said, Chris Anderson, Research Assistant Professor, Assistant Director, ISU Climate Science Program at Iowa State University.

The fifth annual statement, “Iowa Climate Statement 2015: Time for Action,” which was released today, was signed by 188 science faculty and researchers from 39 Iowa colleges and universities. Here is a summary of climate facts in support of action.

  • Humans are adding heat‐trapping gases to the atmosphere. These gases are a major contributor to climate change.
  • Climate change is already having significant effects on Iowans economically, socially, and psychologically, and these impacts are expected to intensify.
  • There is clear evidence that the frequency of intense rain has increased in Iowa over the past 50 years.
  • Natural systems are responding to the increase in the global average temperature. The northward expansion of species formerly restricted by a colder climate could disrupt natural ecosystems and introduce new agricultural pests and diseases.
  • The changes are also expected to lead to negative health effects for Iowans, including the direct impacts of flooding, stresses on the heart and lungs, allergens that are more abundant and have a longer season, and the spread of diseases carried by organisms like mosquitoes and ticks.
  • If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, agriculture, human health, and economic stability will be affected in new and dramatic ways.

“There are policies and practices that, if implemented, would help Iowans adapt to climate change in the short term and avoid unmanageable consequences in the long term,” said Yogi Shah, Associate Dean, Department of Global Health at Des Moines University. “We recognize the important responsibility Iowans have in the process of vetting presidential candidates and we strongly encourage all Iowans to ask them what specific policies they will advocate to address climate change in Iowa,” said Shah.

The lead authors of the “Iowa Climate Statement 2015: Time for Action” include:
David Courard‐Hauri, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Drake University; Gene Takle and Chris Anderson, ISU Climate Science Program, Iowa State University, Greg Carmichael and Jerry Schnoor, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, University of Iowa; David Osterberg and Peter Thorne, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, College of Public Health; Yogi Shah, Department of Global Health, Des Moines University; and Neil Bernstein, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University and with editing assistance from Connie Mutel, IIHR, Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa.

The 39 Colleges and Universities of statement endorsers:
Central College
Clarke University
Clinton Community College
Coe College
Cornell College
Des Moines Area Community College
Des Moines University
Dordt College
Drake University
Eastern Iowa Community College
Ellsworth Community College
Grinnell College
Indian Hills Community College
Iowa Central Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa State University
Iowa Valley Community College
Iowa Western Community College
Kirkwood Community College
Loras College
Luther College
Maharishi University of Management
Morningside College
Mount Mercy University
Northeast Iowa Community College
Northwestern College
Scott Community College
Simpson College
Southeastern Community College
Southwestern Community College
Saint Ambrose University
University of Dubuque
University of Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Upper Iowa University
Waldorf College
Wartburg College
Western Iowa Tech Community College
William Penn University

Endorser affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not reflect views of their academic institutions.

The statement can be found at www.cgrer.uiowa.edu

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