Climate Change

Severe flooding in March caused levees to fail along the Missouri River in Iowa, resulting in overall damages of $2 billion. (noaa.edu)

(Des Moines) -- In recent years, Iowa has experienced record level flooding, devastating droughts and rising temperatures attributed to climate change.

At the same time, the Trump administration is rolling back standards that protect clean air and water.

Last month Democrats in the U.S. Senate attempted to pass a resolution of disapproval, calling attention to climate change and the reluctance of Republicans, including Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, to address the issue.

Antonia Herzog, manager of the Climate and Energy Program for Physicians for Social Responsibility, says the Obama-era Clean Power Plan was making a significant difference.

"We have to deploy more clean energy resources," she stresses. "We have to reduce energy we use. The Clean Power Plan had put us on the right path, and overturning it is sending us completely in the wrong direction."

Using the Congressional Review Act, Senate Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to delay implementation of the Trump administration's revised rule that weakens regulations on power plant emissions.

Ernst voted in favor of overturning the Obama-era rules.

Iowa had the wettest year on record in 2019 and, despite being a small state, has had 43 presidentially declared disasters in the past 30 years.

Dr. Maureen McCue, coordinator of the Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility, says the state has nearly 20,000 energy efficiency jobs, including wind energy and solar employees.

She says 90% of Iowans believe it's important to promote the state's clean energy sources, which makes it the wrong time to roll back safeguards that protect communities and incentivize investments in clean energy.

"Fisher people can't fish because there's so much algae and recreational uses are being closed down because the beaches have so much algae and we are not protecting our waterways," she points out.

Health impacts attributed to climate change include increased rates of asthma, which in Iowa affects 42,000 children and 220,000 adults.