Iowa Climate Statement 2021: Strengthening Iowa’s Electric Infrastructure


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Josie Taylor | October 13, 2021

Since 2011, researchers and educators at nearly every college and university in Iowa have produced annual statements to communicate in plain language the state of climate science and the impacts of climate change on Iowans. Today, the Climate Statement for 2021 was released. This year’s focus is on Iowa’s Electric Infrastructure.

Last year’s August derecho, the most destructive thunderstorm in US history, knocked out power to more than 500,000 Iowa households for as much as two weeks. “The loss of power left people in the dark without air conditioning, refrigeration, access to food, phone chargers and life sustaining medical equipment,” said Dave Courard-Hauri, Chair of Environmental Science and Sustainability Program, Drake University. “This was a potentially deadly combination for many vulnerable and low income Iowans.”

“Iowa’s power outages from the 2020 derecho resulted from extreme damage to transmission and distribution systems,” said Jim McCalley, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Iowa State University.

Climate disasters are not over. To prepare for future Iowa extreme weather events, it is recommended that industry, policy makers and stakeholders identify ways to strengthen Iowa’s electric infrastructure, protect vulnerable people, and consider enhanced risks from climate change while managing costs. Climate change is here. We need a resilient electric infrastructure as we curtail carbon emissions for a more sustainable future.

Takeaways from 2020 Iowa Climate Statement: Will COVID-19 Lessons Help Us Survive Climate Change?


Maxwell Bernstein | October 7, 2020

The Iowa Climate Statement for 2020 is focused on the connections and lessons we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and applying this knowledge to fight against climate change. 

The three main lessons that the statement touches upon are: 

  1. “The best available science as described by professional organizations remains by far the most reliable source of information.” 
  2. “The cost of late action far outweighs the costs of prevention and preparation.” 
  3. “Building community resilience against multiple threats is critical, especially for the most vulnerable among us.” 

To mitigate the consequences of climate change, the climate statement talks about maximizing trust in expert opinion and reliable gathering of information, planning for potential future impacts that will be caused by the impacts of climate change, and reducing racial and social inequality. 

“These lessons show us that smart investments in public health and climate mitigation and adaptation will create more resilient communities and people,” said Eric Tate, Associate Professor of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at the University of Iowa. “Building community resilience against multiple threats is critical, especially for the most vulnerable among us.”

The statement has 230 signatures from Iowa science faculty and researchers who represent 37 universities across Iowa.

CGRER unveils 2017 Climate Statement focused on humidity


From left to right: Gene Takle, director of the Iowa State University Climate Science Program; Betsy Stone, associate professor in the University of Iowa Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; and David Courard-Hauri, director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Drake University, speak at a press conference for the 2017 Iowa Climate Statement. Takle, Stone, and Courard-Hauri contributed to the statement, which focuses on how increased humidity is a side effect of climate change. (CGRER/Joe Bolkcom)

Katelyn Weisbrod | August 9, 2017

Iowa has experienced a serious increase in humidity since 1971, according to leading climate scientists in the state.

This increase of 8 percent to 23 percent, varying for different cities across the state, can be attributed to climate change.

“Absolute humidity, which is typically measured by dew point temperature, has increased statewide from 1971 to 2017. Measurements show Dubuque had the largest increase in humidity, a springtime increase of 23 percent,” said Gene Takle, director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University.

The 2017 Iowa Climate Statement, which was released by the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research today, describes the impact this high humidity has on people, animals, crops, and infrastructure. The statement was signed by 190 science faculty and researchers from 39 Iowa colleges and universities.

These impacts are far greater than just discomfort. High humidity leads to hazardous health conditions for workers, worsened asthma conditions, higher costs of air conditioning, more waterlogged soil, and stress on crops, livestock, and pets.

The statement calls Iowans to recognize the damaging effects of increased humidity, and to understand more must be done to mitigate the effects of climate change.

On the Radio: Iowa scientists release new climate statement


Photo by  illinoisfarmbureau, Flickr.
Photo by illinoisfarmbureau, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This weeks episode discusses the recently released Iowa Climate Statement.

This year’s Iowa Climate Statement lets Iowans know that this year’s drought wasn’t a fluke.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

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