Floyd Gardener of the Progressive Minds of Iowa and Tyler Granger of the National Wildlife Federation co-authored this commentary. -promoted by Laura Belin
Iowa experienced enormous natural disasters in 2019, and climate change accelerated the devastation.
The National Wildlife Federation released an interactive national climate disaster report in November, which illustrated that Iowa’s historic floods and extreme heat were attributable to climate change. The report also predicted continued disastrous weather conditions as the effects of climate change continue to build.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst continued to deny last year that human activity is accelerating climate change, in spite of warnings from scientists and the work of activists spreading awareness. She supported a federal budget that heavily subsidized coal and other fossil fuels. Despite Iowa’s leadership role in renewable energy, Ernst voted against the Congressional Review Act, which would have provided oversight of the EPA’s rollback of methane emissions limits.
Methane emissions contribute to glacier melt, which overwhelms Midwestern rivers and streams. The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers flooded at the same time in 2019, which had never happened before in recorded history. We saw great changes to Iowa’s wildlife, such as hummingbirds remaining in the state in October. The warning signs of climate change are all around us, and it’s time for every Iowan to take them seriously.
Senator Ernst has a responsibility to Iowa. Her constituents have a right to expect her to do everything in her power to avoid flooding and drought, as well as supporting renewable energy in every way. Her inaction on climate change will be costly to Iowans and disrupt our way of life. We need Senate leadership to support a transition away from fossil fuels towards 100 percent clean, renewable energy.
Top image: Senator Joni Ernst at a town hall meeting on October 3, 2019. Tyler Granger took the photograph and gave permission to publish.