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Greenhouse Gas Emissions

See also our Energy and Global Warming Solutions Program

Greenhouse gas emissions are altering the earth’s climate and threatening the earth’s natural resources. They have caused average global temperatures to increase and sea levels to rise at unprecedented rates. Iowa’s greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to this global problem.

Iowa has not yet seen the substantial warming that other parts of the U.S. and world have incurred. However, Iowa has experienced a significant increase in the frequency of heavy precipitation events that, according to scientists, seems to be attributable to global climate change. Furthermore, scientists project that Iowa will become 4 to 10°F warmer during the coming century and experience more extreme weather events, including heat waves, floods, and summer droughts. These climatic changes will harm Iowa’s natural resources and pose substantial challenges for Iowa’s agricultural sector.

The main sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Iowa are electricity consumption (31%), agriculture (24%), residential, commercial and industrial fuel use (20%), and transportation (17%). Iowa’s greenhouse gas emissions are projected to increase substantially in the future as electricity consumption and transportation fuel use increase. The rate at which Iowa’s electricity production has been increasing has outpaced other Midwest states and the U.S. as a whole. From 1990 through 2003, Iowa’s electricity production increased by 33% while the Midwest’s electricity production increased by 25% and the U.S.’s electricity production increased by 24%.


CHART: Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Iowa; past and projected temperature increases; from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report


For an introduction to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change:
For more information about greenhouse gas emissions:

International Panel on Climate Change. (2007) IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
For information about the impacts of human greenhouse gas emissions on the earth’s climate and opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources. (2008) 2007 Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Selected Iowa Source Categories.
For information about sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Iowa.

World Resources Institute. (October 2007) Charting the Midwest: An Inventory and Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in America’s Heartland.
For information about sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Iowa and other Midwest states.

Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council web site
For information about sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Iowa and steps Iowa can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. See “Links” for information about what other states and regions are doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. See “Inventory & Forecast Report” for the Center for Climate Strategies’ 2008 report entitled Iowa Inventory & Forecast Final Report.




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The Iowa Environmental Council is a non-profit organization, working in collaboration with its member organizations and others, to ensure that Iowa rules, regulations and laws sufficiently protect our water, air, soil, plants and wildlife for current and future generations. Please consider supporting our work. You can make a donation and/or become a member by clicking on the "Donate Now" button, on the blue sidebar.




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