Climate change could lead to increased mosquito, tick populations in Iowa


Environmental advocates warm that mosquito and tick populations in Iowa could increase because of climate change. (naturegirl 78/Flickr)
Environmental advocates warn that mosquito and tick populations in Iowa could increase because of climate change. (naturegirl 78/Flickr)

A report by the National Wildlife Federation released earlier this week finds that climate change could lead to an increase in mosquito and tick populations as well as stronger strains of poison ivy and more green algae blooms.

These effects will likely have a direct impact on the Hawkeye State. Iowa has seen increased amounts of rainfall precipitation and higher humidity levels in recent years, much of which can be attributed to climate change. Cases of West Nile Virus – the mosquito-borne illness that can lead to fevers and even death – have also been on the rise in Iowa in recent years. There were nine cases of West Nile Virus in Iowa in 2011 and by 2013 that number had increased to 44.

Higher temperatures and greater levels of precipitation will also affect other blood-sucking pests such as deer ticks, an insect that can withstand mild winters. More than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year in the U.S.

These climate changes will not only affect insect populations but also plants. Increased carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels is expected to cause poison ivy to spread more easily and also be more potent. Green algae blooms have also been problematic in Iowa and this too is expected to worsen.

To combat these issues, the report calls for a reduction in carbon pollution through more efficient utilization of renewable energy sources as well as the implantation of certain safeguards for wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Great March for Climate Action reaches Iowa


Ed Fallon speaking at a political event prior to embarking on the Great March. Photo by Mike Hiatt; Flickr
Ed Fallon speaking at a political event prior to embarking on the Great March. Photo by Mike Hiatt; Flickr

 A former Iowa state representative and a group of dedicated citizens are marching through Iowa this week on a cross-country trek to raise awareness about climate change.

Ed Fallon’s Great March for Climate Action began on March 1st in Los Angeles, and will conclude in Washington D.C. before the midterm elections. By this time, Fallon and five other marchers will have walked approximately 3,000 miles. This core group has been joined by many others along the way who walk as far as they are able.

The aim of the March is to inspire the general public as well as lawmakers to take action on climate issues. The marchers are holding rallies and events along the route, attempting to reach the largest possible audience.

The marchers will walk through Iowa City this Wednesday, with a rally at 11:30 AM in the Ped Mall and a discussion of the EPA’s Clean Power Plant Rule at 7:00 PM at the Iowa City Public Library.

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.

Canadian university reduces emissions while levels rise for City


Ontario Hall (left) and Grant Hall (right) on the Queen's University campus in Kingston, Ontario. Photo by Aidan Wakely-Mulroney; Flickr
Ontario Hall (left) and Grant Hall (center) on the Queen’s University campus in Kingston, Ontario.
Photo by Aidan Wakely-Mulroney; Flickr

Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 10 percent (compared to 2010 levels) at Queen’s University while emissions for the City of Kingston – home to Queen’s University – have risen.

The 2011-2012 Queen’s University Greenhouse Gas Inventory analyzes greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 to 2012. The report shows that emission levels have decreased by more than 20 percent since 2008 when data was first collected. Aaron Ball – Sustainability Coordinator at Queen’s University – noted out that “the decrease in emissions from 2010 to 2011 is largely due to a cleaner electricity supply in Ontario, while the uptick in 2012 is attributable to the weather.”

The City of Kingston drafted a Climate Action Plan in 2014 which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 350,000 tons by the year 2030. The City has implemented several carbon-reducing measures including: facility retrofits, adopting a green building plan, constructing five LEED facilities, and installing 11 solar projects.

Queen’s University is a public research institute with just over 23,000 students located in Kingston, Ontario, about 100 miles north of Syracuse, New York. Kingston has a population of 123,363 according to the 2011 Census.

On the Radio: Iowa and Global Renewable Energy


Wind turbines near Hampton, Iowa. Photo by Theodore Scott (Flickr)
Wind turbines near Hampton, Iowa. Photo by Theodore Scott (Flickr)

This week’s On the Radio segment takes a look at how Iowa stacks up against the rest of the world in renewable energy investments and innovations. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

 

Script: Global Renewable Energy

While Iowa has been a front-runner in wind energy production, a new report suggests that the rest of the world has lagged behind in adopting renewable energy practices to reduce climate change.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

A new report by the International Energy Agency states that each year about 1.6 trillion dollars is invested in global energy supply. However the Energy Agency said this investment would need to increase by about 400 billion dollars to effectively combat global rises in temperature.

Iowa has been proactive in investing in renewable energy resources which has attracted tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft to the state.

Iowa is number one in the nation for percentage of electricity generated by wind energy and is third – behind Texas and California – in the quantity of wind energy produced. In 2014, Iowa had installed more than 5000 megawatts of wind power capacity.

Climate scientists hope that a global agreement on climate change will be reached when government leaders convene in Paris at the end of 2015.

To read the full report, visit Iowa Environmental Focus.org

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Nick Fetty.

For more information, visit:

http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/WEIO2014.pdf

www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/name,86205,en.html

http://www.awea.org/Resources/state.aspx?ItemNumber=5224

Study: More precise fertilizer application will help combat climate change


Photo via eutrophication&hypoxia; Flickr
Photo via Lynn Betts; Flickr

Farmers can help to combat climate change by applying more precise amounts of nitrogen fertilizer to fields, according to a recent study by researchers at Michigan State University.

The study – published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – used data from around the world to conclude that emissions from nitrogen oxide – a byproduct of nitrogen fertilizer – contribute to greenhouse gases more than previously expected when application of fertilizer exceeds crop needs. Nitrogen emissions caused by humans has increased significantly in recent years much of what can be attributed to increased nitrogen fertilizer use. Not only will more precise amounts of fertilizer protect the environment but it will also help to save farmers money.

Check out this article about this study published today by R&D.

Also to learn more about the science behind nitrogen fertilizers check out this guide compiled by the Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences.

Gov’t adviser: China to reduce carbon emissions


Photo via Kyle Rokos; Flickr
Photo via Kyle Rokos; Flickr

Just days after the EPA announced plans for a significant reduction in carbon emissions in the United States, a top government adviser in China said his country will follow suit, according to an article in The Guardian.

The adviser – He Jiankun – went on to say “What I said today was my personal view. The opinions expressed at the workshop were only meant for academic studies. What I said does not represent the Chinese government or any organization.”

In 2006, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases. Tuesday marked the first time China would set a limit on carbon emissions although similar measures were implemented in 2009 and 2011.

China’s announcement came just ahead of the G7 summit in Brussels which began Wednesday.

EPA emissions plan less strict on Iowa


 

Photo via Payton Chung; Flickr
Photo via Payton Chung; Flickr

A plan by the EPA to reduce carbon gas emissions would be less stringent on Iowa because of a proactive investment in renewable energies, according to an article in the Des Moines Register.

The Plans calls for power plants nationally to reduce carbon emissions by an average of 30 percent by 2030. Iowa’s rate is nearly half the national average at 16 percent. Rate reductions for neighboring states are: Missouri by 21 percent, Nebraska by 26 percent, Illinois by 33 percent, Wisconsin by 34 percent, South Dakota by 35 percent, and Minnesota by 41 percent.

This interactive map shows what percent of each state’s energy comes from coal.

Yale Project on Climate Change and Communication


Global_Warming_vs_Climate_Change_Report copy 2-1 (dragged)

A recently released study finds that the terms “global warming” and “climate change” often mean different things to Americans—and activate different sets of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, as well as different degrees of urgency about the need to respond.

Click the picture above to read more.

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.

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