Strategies to Combat Climate Change

In October of 2013, a distinguished group of scientific faculty members, from academic institutions around the state, sent Governor Branstad a policy statement urging him to act to protect Iowa’s agricultural future against further harm from climate change.  Unusual weather patterns, severe drought, and torrential rains are already impacting businesses and jobs throughout the state.  And we all know that when Iowa agriculture suffers, Iowa businesses and communities suffer too.

These consequences are already affecting our state and the challenges ahead can only be faced by leaders who embrace what our scientists are telling us and who are prepared to act in the best interests of our state.

Climate change is the single most important issue we face.  As I have traveled around this state and listened to what the people of Iowa are saying, I hear about the impact climate change is having on the lives of people from all walks of life.  We all see and experience together what is going on around us.  We are all aware something unusual is happening in nearly every season of the year.

These are the significant climate change effects our Iowa science faculty members are warning us about.  The October 2013 statement was the third statement of its kind in which Iowa scientists have tried to warn this Governor about the need for action on climate change.  And this is the third time these dire warnings have fallen on deaf ears.

Make no mistake, when I am Governor I will not fail to take action on this issue.  For me, the matter is settled, the debate is over, and the time for action on climate change is now.

Iowa can also help lead the way when it comes to impacting national policy on climate change.  Our role as a first-in-the-nation caucus state gives us a special opportunity to impact the climate-policy debate.  If climate change becomes a major policy focus in Iowa, then the nation will pay attention as Presidential candidates make their way across the state in 2016.

When I am Governor, I will directly address my climate change policy in my Inaugural Address and in my first Condition of the State address.  We will begin work in the first 100 days of my administration to implement the comprehensive policy approach articulated below.  I look forward to reversing the lack of leadership Terry Branstad has shown on this issue, and I look forward to making Iowa a national leader in combating the effects of global climate change.

Next Generation Climate Change Policy Initiatives for Iowa
  1. Design a specific, and detailed, climate change response strategy that will be implemented by the state – through collaboration with experts in the fields of science, agriculture and business.
  1. Establish a long-term plan to address the harmful effects climate change has on our agricultural and food-producing systems.
  1. Continue to improve and innovate our flood mitigation plans in order to create a diverse and adaptive plan to deal with severe weather and the damage from flash flooding.
  1. Commit Iowa to participate in regional and national atmospheric carbon reduction/sequestration initiatives, including intensive forest regeneration programs that have already been developed.
  1. Support efficient building practices and expand and increase conservation efforts at the state and local levels, especially those efforts focusing on Iowa schools.
  1. Direct the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to carry out its vital function to monitor and report emission levels – and maintain a current watch list for air contaminants that may cause adverse human health effects in particular geographic areas.
  1. Partner with federal agencies to help reduce Iowa’s overall contribution to national greenhouse gas emissions.
  1. Collaborate with the Iowa legislature to implement appropriate national and international regulations to timely achieve effective carbon reduction.
  1. Continue Iowa’s leadership in the effective and profitable growth of the renewable energy sector – and further harness the innovative potential of wind and solar energy to help Iowa reduce its carbon footprint and create good paying local jobs.
  1. Provide our Regent Universities with the tools necessary to make Iowa a national leader in research and scholarship on issues related to reducing the most harmful impacts of our changing climate.