One city’s decaying trash can be a university’s energy – or something like that.
The University of Iowa will use methane from Iowa City’s landfill to power its research campus – a project that will generate revenue for the city and limit emissions of a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Continue reading →
Imagine a readily available source of energy that could produce electricity for our homes and businesses, right where we live and work.
Solar energy could be the next new engine of job creation for Iowans, provided we seize the opportunities in front of us.
Iowa has become a world leader in biofuels and the big wind industry. This
is thanks to great natural resources (Sun, soils and wind) and smart state policies — and let’s not forget taxpayers, who have provided plenty of help in the form of public subsidies. Over the last decade, taxpayers have invested billions in these industries.
This investment has paid off by creating new jobs and new markets for Iowa products. Continue reading →
Written by Mark Vitosh, District Forester with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
By itself, the small vine seems of little threat; maybe an ornamental wreath, with yellow capsules giving way to red berries…or perhaps climbing a trellis, with soft, green leaves.
But Oriental bittersweet doesn’t travel by itself. And it doesn’t stay small for long. The invasive transplant from eastern Asia is jumping the fence from backyards to woodlots. It’s choking, shading and crowding out native trees, shrubs and other desirable plants in regions across the eastern U.S…and now in Iowa.
Marilyn Keller first noticed it three winters ago on her 29 acres near Cedar Rapids. “I would always see grape vines; Virginia creeper. This was a different vine, though,” recalls Keller. “It was wrapping around a tree. It didn’t come off easily. The little nodes had flowers; many times more than (American) bittersweet. By Spring, I could see it almost everywhere.” Continue reading →
Black carbon: it’s dirty, unhealthy and addressing it, according to a new report, may be the most effective way to confront climate change.
Greg Carmichael, a University of Iowa professor and co-founder of CGRER, is a lead author of that report – a United Nations Environmental Programme study that outlines the dangers of black carbon soot and suggests how decision makers can address this form of particular air pollutant, which is second only to carbon dioxide as a catalyst of climate change.
Following through on the recommendations could cut future global warming in half, the report found, reducing the projected temperature rise by .5 degrees Celsius. Continue reading →
Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa and Max Baucus, D-Mont. have introduced a bill that would make permanent a temporary tax deduction that has protected more than 1 million acres of land from development each year.
The credit would have extra incentives for farmers and ranchers.
Has Iowa’s 33-year old “bottle bill” run its course?
That’s what a group of House legislators say. They want to repeal the law that requires vendors to place a 5-cent deposit on all cans and bottles sold in the state that contain alcohol and soft drinks.
Grocers have long argued that the law is overly burdensome and that the transfer of messy containers presents a health risk.
But the bottle bill has been credited with reducing levels of litter in public places – especially in highway ditches. After the bill’s passage, a 1980 litter survey found that beverage container litter in Iowa decreased 77 percent, and overall litter fell by 37 percent.
Also, recycling rates in bottle bill states are drastically higher than they are elsewhere.
In 2006 only 33 percent of containers were recycled nationwide. That number was between 65 and 95 percent in states with deposit laws, according to a study by the Iowa Policy Project. Iowans recycled 91 percent of deposited containers, and Michiganders – the lone residents who pay a 10 cent deposit – recycled 95 percent of containers.
Many have lobbied to expand the scope of the requirement to include non-carbonate and non-alcoholic beverages, which made up 25 percent of the beverage market in 2005. Others have argued that the deposit should be increased to account for inflation. Continue reading →
This week’s radio segment highlights some innovative research going on in the tiny city of Shenandoah – attempts to use algae for fuel.
But the experiment is just one of many of the town’s cutting-edge green efforts. The city has also installed more energy-efficient lighting in its downtown, and it received the first ever permit to construct and operate an air curtain incinerator that cleanly burns yard waste. Continue reading →