Taking Action on Climate Change in Iowa
"In 2010-2019 average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history, but the rate of growth has slowed. Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach. However, there is increasing evidence of climate action...
Since 2010, there have been sustained decreases of up to 85% in the costs of solar and wind energy, and batteries. An increasing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy."
That's according to the UN International Panel on Climate Change report released this week. The report talks of action and hope, yet it gave one clear message: we must dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels in the next eight years to maintain a livable climate for the next generation.
It is clear our climate is changing. Drought, floods, derechos, extreme weather – Iowa has experienced it all… and just in the last 5 years.
IEC has watched and listened to the science from the IPCC and other scientists across the US, and right here in Iowa. We’re taking action to fight climate change here at home. We’re pushing utilities to close unnecessary, CO2-spewing coal plants in our state by 2030 with our #CleanUpMidAm campaign. We’re working on policies to encourage the transition to electrification and the continued growth of renewable energy in Iowa. We’re advocating for clean water protections and flood resilient infrastructure in the face of our changing future.
The IPCC report and other climate news can be dire. Climate anxiety is a real thing affecting many Americans. But know as you do the work – calling on local and national leaders for change, participating in environmental activities around the state, and so much more – that you’re not alone. IEC stands with you and your passion for our planet and together, we can change our course.
Hello solar, goodbye coal: Updates on IEC's activities at the IUB
IEC remains busy at the Iowa Utilities Board in cases involving MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy. Steve Guyer, our Energy and Climate Policy Specialist, recently submitted written testimony supporting the development of new solar by Alliant Energy’s Iowa subsidiary to replace retiring coal.
Alliant seeks approval to acquire 400 megawatts of new solar, with half to be built near the site of the retired Duane Arnold Energy Station north of Cedar Rapids. That site can use the existing transmission capacity, avoiding the need for expensive new lines. The solar is consistent with Alliant’s overall plan for transitioning to clean energy, which resulted from a stakeholder planning process IEC participated in throughout 2020. The IUB will hold a three-day hearing on the proposal this summer.
IEC is also working to address MidAmerican Energy’s fleet of dirty, expensive coal plants. IEC is appealing MidAmerican’s 2020 Emissions Plan and Budget to the Iowa Supreme Court, because our evidence on the benefits of coal plant retirements was not considered by the IUB.
In a parallel case addressing its long-term plans, where we showed coal plant retirements could save Iowans $1.2 billion, MidAmerican has appealed an IUB order to district court. IEC’s motion to intervene with our partners, Environmental Law & Policy Center and Sierra Club, was granted last week. At the same time, the Utilities Board requested input and oral argument this month on whether to consolidate MidAmerican’s request to approve rates for new wind and solar with the long-term planning case. We will keep working to help protect Iowans’ health and wealth by retiring the coal plants.
Find IEC at Earth Day Events in Iowa
Earth Day is Friday, April 22, and communities, businesses, and organizations around the state are planning celebrations.
We're making plans to attend several events, so please stop by and say hello to IEC and 100% Iowa staff if you see us in your area!
We'll be at:
• the One Sustainable Iowa Student Conference in Iowa City on 4/9
• the North Iowa Green Expo on 4/21
• Earth Day at the Garden, Des Moines Botanical Garden on 4/23
• EcoFest 2022 at Newbo City Market in Cedar Rapids on 4/23
• Party for the Planet, National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque on 4/23
Submit Nominations for Pro H2O Awards - due 4/15
We're busy preparing for Pro H2O on June 9 at The River Center in Des Moines and satellite locations in Okoboji and Iowa City. Part of that process is selecting the 2022 Pro H2O award winners, and we need your nominations! Each year we recognize creative, tenacious, inspiring, motivated Iowans for their efforts to protect and raise awareness about clean water issues in our state.
We are seeking nominations for four awards: Youth Leadership, Business Innovation, Impact Through Advocacy, and Lifetime Achievement. Consider yourself, your colleagues, friends, family, community members or any deserving Iowan you believe is improving Iowa's water through their contributions. Nominations close Friday, April 15!
Upcoming Environmental Events
4/9 - One Sustainable Iowa Student Conference, Iowa City
4/9 - RRWA Annual Conference: Life in the Raccoon River - Our Natural Capital, Des Moines
4/11 - Speaking of... Reasons for Hope Climate Discussion
4/12 - Thinking like a Watershed: The 2023 Farm Bill after 100 Years of Conservation
4/16 - SILTFest Cedar Rapids
4/19 - USGBC Iowa Habitat Restoration Education Session
4/19 - Climate Strike at the Capitol, Des Moines
4/19 - Fighting Food Waste, Des Moines
4/21 - 4/22 - Hawkeye Decarbonization Summit, Iowa City
4/21 - North Iowa Green Expo, Clear Lake
4/21 - CCED's Earth Day, EVs & More Social, Elkader
4/22 - Electric Bus Bash, Iowa City
4/22 - For the Love of All Creation - Church and Climate Change, Clive
4/23 - Earth Day the Garden, Des Moines
4/23 - Party for the Planet, Dubuque
4/23 - Earth Day Picnic, Waterloo
4/25 - OUTside Hikes: LGBTQ+ Allies Hiking Meetups, Huxley
4/29 - IGWA Spring 2022 Conference
Organizational Member News
SILT Launches Circle Our Cities
Sustainable Iowa Land Trust’s new campaign, Circle Our Cities, has added a new goal to the organization's mission of protecting land for table-food farming: to circle 10 Iowa cities with 10 food farms in 10 years.
“The origin of Circle Our Cities is to bring home the fact that our metro areas are importing 90% of our food from out of state when we have some of the best soils in the world, and we can use just a fraction of that surrounding our cities to feed the people in them,” said Suzan Erem, executive director of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, or SILT.
Learn more about Circle Our Cities.