On the Radio: Carbon emission reductions under the Clean Power Plan


Chris/Flickr
Chris/Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will reduce carbon emissions in Iowa and across the country. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Transcript: Clean Power Plan carbon reductions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan aims to significantly reduce power plant carbon emissions by 2030.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Power plants are currently the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., accounting for roughly one-third of heat-trapping gas emissions. There are about 1000 fossil fuel-powered plants in the U.S. and 37 plants in Iowa that are impacted by the plan.

The plan proposes to cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States.

This includes a 25 percent reduction in pollutants that contribute to soot as well as smog which are known to cause asthma, heart disease, and other health problems.

 Iowa has until June 30, 2016 to draft and submit a plan for reducing power plant emissions in the state.

For more information about the Clear Power Plan, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org

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From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

On the Radio: Clean Power Plan health benefits


Kim Seng/Flickr
Kim Seng/Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at the potential health benefits of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Transcript: Clean Power Plan health benefits

Thousands of lives and billions of dollars could be saved under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recently proposed Clean Power Plan.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

According to EPA scientists, as many as 6,000 premature deaths and 3,000 heart attacks are projected to be avoided in 2030 as air quality improves under the Clean Power Plan. Current standards limit the amount of certain pollutants such as arsenic and mercury. However there is no limit on carbon. Carbon emissions contribute to air pollution which presents health risks, particularly for children, elderly, and low-income individuals.

The plan is also projected to reduce as many as 150,000 asthma attacks in children. Moreover, the plan expects a reduction of nearly half a million missed school or work days as well as about 3,000 fewer hospital admissions.

Economically, the plan has public health and climate benefits estimated at up to $93 million per year in 2030.

For more information about the Clear Power Plan, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org

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From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

New analysis spells out risks of climate change on Midwest business


A page from the Risky Business Report's section on the Midwest, which highlights the effects of warming temperatures on the region.
A page from the Risky Business Report‘s section on the Midwest, which highlights the effects of warming temperatures on the region.

An extensive risk analysis report released Tuesday outlines what a warmer climate could mean for U.S. private and public sectors, with significant shifts in store for the Midwest.

The report was released by the Risky Business Project, an effort to apply risk assessment principles to climate change in the U.S. The project’s new report looks at the risks associated with rising temperatures and sea levels on business, infrastructure and agriculture in various regions of the country up to the year 2100.

For the Midwest, the report focuses on the region’s role as an important agricultural resource for the rest of the country. It assesses what rising temperatures could mean for the region’s commodity crops if the country continues at current carbon emission rates. Farmers would adapt, the report says, but agriculture would move north into Minnesota and Canada. Iowa would see a 10% decrease in crop yields over the next twenty years and a stunning 66% decrease by 2100.

The bipartisan project aims to convince corporations and businesses to view climate change as another business threat like any other, without going into detailed, highly-politicized solutions. Its Risk Committee includes former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Cargill CEO Gregory Page, three former U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury and various public and private officials.

For the compete report and for statements from the co-chairs of the project, visit riskybusiness.org.

New climate plan asks for cooperation from states


Nick Fetty | June 3, 2014
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Photo via Matt; Flickr

A new plan proposed by President Obama to cut carbon pollution will rely on states to set and meet their own emissions standards.

The plan aims to “cut carbon pollution from power plans by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.” Similar to the President’s health care initiative, individual states will be responsible for devising unique plans to meet the standard set by the federal government.

The article cites that farmers in Iowa and Minnesota currently generate up to 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources – such as solar and wind – while states in the southeast utilize nuclear energy. Critics say the new proposal will eliminate jobs and raise utility costs.

For more information, visit the EPA’s website. Also check out this infographic released by the White House.

On the Radio: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report


Photo via UN ISDR; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment explores the findings of the IPCC’s research into climate change, and what the future holds. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Continue reading

What Iowans can do to prepare for climate change


Photo by Philippe 2009; Flickr

Focusing on farming, soil management, and wind energy, this piece by the Des Moines Register goes into three things that Iowans can do to better prepare for, and reduce the impact of climate change.