IEC joins call for planning and preparation as extreme weather intensifies in Iowa

posted on Thursday, October 11, 2018 in Council News

Investments in stormwater management and energy efficiency needed

Des Moines, Iowa -- The Iowa Environmental Council is joining the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research and more than 200 scientists in their call for preparation and planning to mitigate the effects of climate change in their 2018 Iowa Climate Statement.

The statement highlights that climate change predictions of the 1990s are becoming Iowa’s reality today. Heat waves and intense rain events are on the rise, and climate scientists estimate that by mid-century the average heat wave will increase by an additional 7 °F from the current average of 90-95 °F to 97-102°F. Strong rainfall events are projected to double in intensity.

The climate statement offers short term suggestions, including advising communities, businesses, and individual homeowners to plan for increased precipitation. Community leaders must address storm water management practices, while businesses and homeowners should consider structural changes and improved gutters, downspouts, and other tools.

“Proactively implementing green infrastructure will help our communities better manage more frequent and intense rain events, reduce flooding risks and property damage, and reduce stormwater runoff which carries pollutants that further degrade our water quality,” said Cindy Lane, water program director at the Iowa Environmental Council.

The climate statement additionally calls on businesses and legislators to invest in energy efficiency efforts, such as improved insulation, strategic window placement, and cool roof systems.

While the statement offers several short-term solutions to improve resiliency, Jerry Schnoor, co-director of the Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, notes that reducing carbon emissions remains the best long-term strategy for managing climate change.

Kerri Johannsen, energy program director with the Iowa Environmental Council, states, “Our energy sector is in a vicious loop where the fossil fuels we are burning are, in turn, driving up energy use and cost for all Iowans. We can and must get Iowa’s utilities on board with a plan to phase out polluting coal generation in a way that benefits Iowa’s economy and makes us more resilient to climate change.”