Derecho brings hotter summers to Cedar Rapids

Eric Gutschmidt has been a real estate developer for twelve years, is owner of Gutschmidt Properties, and serves as president of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association in Cedar Rapids.

Am I the only one who noticed that it’s been hotter than usual this year in Cedar Rapids? When I wake up in the morning the weather forecast often projects temperatures in the 80s, but by midday it is already in the 90s. 

The forecast is based on historical weather data from back when we had trees, and well, that ain’t it right now.

As a landlord, I know tenants are having problems keeping their houses cool, even with the air conditioner running nonstop. It’s not just the increased temperature making the AC’s struggle. Many of my houses were shaded by nearby trees; now they are in direct sunlight.

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New Iowa carbon task force looks like greenwashing

“If someone tasked you with making an exhaustive list of who could profit from carbon sequestration, this is what you would come up with,” tweeted Chris Jones, a research engineer at the University of Iowa who has written extensively about agriculture and water quality.

He was referring to the Carbon Sequestration Task Force, which Governor Kim Reynolds established through a June 22 executive order. In a written statement touting the initiative, Reynolds said Iowa “is in a strong position to capitalize on the growing nationwide demand for a more carbon free economy.” She will chair the task force, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will co-chair.

The task force looks like a textbook greenwashing effort: deploying concern about about “sustainability” and “low carbon solutions” as cover for policies that will direct public money to large corporations in the energy and agriculture sectors.

One tell: Reynolds did not involve any of Iowa’s leading environmental organizations, which have long worked to reduce carbon emissions.

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Gas companies want to profit off Iowans

Michael Schmidt, staff attorney for the Iowa Environmental Council, wrote this post, which first appeared on that organization’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

This legislative session has kept the Iowa Environmental Council busy, in part because of a bill that would protect gas company profits at the expense of Iowa customers. House File 555 and its companion, Senate File 455, would hurt Iowans by stopping cities and counties from protecting their local residents from dangerous gas infrastructure, high energy bills, and polluting fossil fuels.

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Five under-reported climate change stories

Tyler Granger is a climate change activist in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

Between the presidential election, the special U.S. Senate elections in Georgia, the Capitol insurrection, the second impeachment of President Donald Trump, and Joe Biden’s inauguration, political happenings have overshadowed many other newsworthy events. Several climate change stories received little media attention but are worth noting.

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Don't give up on rural Iowa

Emma Schmit chairs the Calhoun County Democrats and serves on the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee. She is also the Iowa organizer at Food & Water Watch. -promoted by Laura Belin

The November election has inspired a new wave of rural analysis. Spend five minutes looking and you’ll find five different opinions. Some claim Donald Trump’s sweep of Midwestern states indicates that Democrats should write off rural voters. Some believe the lower margin of rural Trump victories in 2020 compared to 2016 shows a slight, but not insignificant, shift in political trends that must be capitalized on.

Whatever your opinion, it’s clear that the debate over rural voters will influence strategies, campaigns and policies over the coming years — and this is something both urban and rural residents should pay attention to.

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