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Editorial: Vote for candidates who will move on climate change

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | OCTOBER 08, 2014 5:00 AM

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Climate change has made headlines recently with the U.N Climate Summit and protests in New York. Leaders from across the world gathered to discuss the next steps to be made in combating the rapidly changing climate. And here in Iowa, local advocacy groups hope to bring the issue to the forefront in the Senate election.

In Iowa, the effects of climate change pose a very real and imminent threat. Climate change is much more than ice melting a million miles away.

The role climate change will play on the Midwest has the potential to be just as dire. Changes in precipitation patterns because of climate change could lead to fluctuating extremes of increased flooding for part of the year and droughts in the other. Such drastic changes in temperature will also require the agricultural industry to make serious adjustments to farming and livestock practices.

The population may also experience somewhat unexpected downsides of climate change such as an increase in the number of mosquitoes/ticks and a decrease in air quality in the particularly hot summers.

What is going to become pivotal for the future of Iowa is a conscious effort to implement policies and practices with the changing of the climate in mind as well as supporting representatives with a vested interest in enacting change.

Solutions will come from a unified effort by all the citizens on this planet. We do not have to wait for politicians to make the changes necessary to ensure the sustainability of the planet for years to come, but they’ll certainly help it along.

The organization NextGen Climate has taken an active part in getting the people of Iowa City to consider politicians’ stances on climate change when making their voting decisions. NextGen Climate has deployed numerous canvassers to the University of Iowa specifically in an effort to increase awareness of climate change.

NextGen Climate’s ads have been particularly critical of Iowa’s Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst, and for good reason. At a debate in September with Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, Ernst said she “didn’t know the science behind climate change” and couldn’t say whether she thought it was man-made or had a direct impact.  Statements such as this are worrisome coming from those who hope to design policy for the whole nation, especially when the science on climate change is well publicized and virtually unchallenged.

With the cooperation of the government and industry leaders very real progress can be made in ensuring the world will still be inhabitable in the future. Ultimately, it will be left to the people of Iowa to ensure that their elected representatives will do their part in moving on climate change.


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