IA Report Highlights Current Climate Change Impacts on State

In 2009, Iowa enacted legislation that included an amendment sponsored by NCEL member and former Iowa State Representative Donovan Olson. The amendment (language pasted below) requires a report on the current impacts that climate change has already had on the state. The report, compiled by scientists from the three state universities, was released just this week. Unlike other state reports that examine future climate change impacts and ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this report is unique in its in-depth examination of how climate change is already affecting the state.

Here is the bulk of the amendment, which was included in SF471 (2009):

“The study shall take the form of a climate change impacts review, to include the following:
a. Performance of an initial review of available climate change impacts studies relevant to this state.
b. Preparation of a summary of available data on recent changes in relevant climate conditions.
c. Identification of climate change impacts issues which require further research and an estimate of their cost.
d. Identification of important public policy issues relevant to climate change impacts.”

The “Climate Change Impacts on Iowa 2010 Report” can be viewed online here:
Executive Summary:http://www.energy.iowa.gov/files/ClimateChangeExecutiveSummaryFinal010311.pdf
Full Report: http://www.energy.iowa.gov/files/ClimateChangeCompleteReportFinal010311.pdf

The policy recommendations included in the report are meant to help guide legislators’ efforts as they safeguard the state’s economy, environment, and residents from the current and future impacts of climate change. These policy recommendations include:

• Consider the rising financial and human impacts of Iowa’s recent climate trends – for example, the increasing annual precipitation and more extreme rain events that can result in more intense summertime floods – in policy and appropriations decisions.

• Take strong steps to protect Iowa’s soil, water quality, and long-term agricultural productivity in the face of climate change.

• Increase investments in state programs that enhance wildlife habitat and management and restore public and private lands. Changes in climate will have a direct impact on both game and non-game species.

• Designate the Iowa Department of Public Health to report annually on the consequences of changing climate on the health of Iowa citizens.

• Advocate for federal highway construction standards that consider the effects of climate change, and encourage the Iowa Department of Transportation to explore the use of interim designs that take into account trends in Iowa’s climate.

• Authorize the Iowa Insurance Division to periodically issue reports of findings and policy recommendations concerning the risks and anticipated costs of property insurance related to climate-related claims and payouts.

• Fund ongoing research that further delineates changes in our climate and their effects on Iowa and Iowans.

Related New Articles:
From the Des Moines Register (piece by three scientists who worked on the report):http://tinyurl.com/26n2o42

From Omaha World-Herald: http://tinyurl.com/2cfgwb7

From Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: http://tinyurl.com/25jcrka