This is the only climate advocacy update I plan to prepare for the month of September because of other commitments I have. Here are some key action items for the month:
August Recess for Congress Through September 7 – It is not too late to call our Congressional representatives and Senators to urge their support for climate action during the August recess. Here are local in-state phone numbers where you can leave a comment or arrange a meeting:
Rep. Bruce Braley, Cedar Rapids Office, 319-364-2288
Rep. Dave Loebsack, Iowa City Office, 319-351-0789
Rep. Tom Latham, Des Moines Office, 515-282-1909
Rep. Steve King, Sioux City Office, 712-224-4692
Senator Chuck Grassley, Des Moines Office, 515-288-1145
Senator Tom Harkin, Des Moines Office, 515-284-4574
Please report your calls and meetings back to me so I can track them.
Citizens Climate Lobby Monthly Meetings – Citizens Climate Lobby chapters will be having monthly meetings around the state, including Des Moines on Saturday, September 6, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the North Side Library, 3516 Fifth Avenue, in Des Moines. CCL in Cedar Rapids will be meeting Tuesday, September 16, at 7:00 p.m. in the second floor un-conference room of the downtown library. Check www.citizensclimatelobby.org to join an introductory call or for details about meetings in other communities in Iowa.
“Future of Energy” Film Showing Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 – On Saturday, September 13, this movie will be shown in Sussman Theater in the Olmsted Center at Drake University at 7:00 p.m. It will be shown again at First Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell Avenue, in Des Moines on Sunday, September 14, at 6:00 p.m.
Iowa Interfaith Power & Light Conference Featuring Sally Bingham, Sept. 18 – Iowa IPL is holding its annual conference on Thursday, September 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Tiferath Israel Synagogue, 924 Polk Blvd, in Des Moines. Registration is $40. The conference will feature the Rev. Sally Bingham, the founder and president of the Regeneration Project, which founded the Interfaith Power & Light movement. Isaac Luria of Auburn Seminary in New York City will also be speaking. To register, or for more information, visit www.iowaipl.org.
Iowa IPL is also sponsoring workshops on Food, Faith, and Climate in Waterloo on Saturday, September 20, and in Decorah on Saturday, September 27. Cost is $35 each. Check the website for more details or to register in advance.
Train to People’s Climate March, Sept. 20-21 – Multiple organizations have come together to organize the People’s Climate March in New York City, September 20-21. Trains to New York City are available from Iowa. Contact Jennifer K. at 415-766-7728 or by email at Jennifer@endangeredearth.org, or visit:
#B4UMarch Campaign – Call Congress Sept. 15-19 – Regardless of whether you are able to attend the People’s Climate March, it is critical that Congress hear from Americans that we support climate action. Using the hash tag, #B4UMarch, I am encouraging people to take a few minutes and call their state’s Congressional representatives and Senators at their Washington, DC offices the week before the People’s Climate March. In Iowa, we can reach them at the following numbers:
Congressman Tom Latham, 202-225-5476
Congressman Bruce Braley, 202-225-2911
Congressman Dave Loebsack, 202-225-6576
Congressman Steve King, 202-225-4426
Senator Chuck Grassley, 202-224-3744
Senator Tom Harkin, 202-224-3254
Please encourage your friends, family, and colleagues across Iowa and around the country to call their Congressional representatives and Senators, too.
Again, please report your calls back to me so I can track them – there is nothing wrong with calling twice a month to urge action.
EPA Carbon Pollution Rules – Comments Due October 16 – On Twitter, I am using the hash tag, #StopCarbonPollution, to support the carbon pollution rules. Comments are due October 16. You can share comments through Iowa IPL or the League of Conservation Voters, or you can send comments directly to the EPA at this web address:
The bottom line: Let the EPA know you support the rules as an important next step, and share your comments with our Congressional delegation, too.
Organize A Remembrance of Hurricane Sandy October 29 – October 29 marks the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, a storm that brought an unprecedented storm surge to New York City, New Jersey, and much of the East Coast, killed 118 Americans, and caused over $70 billion in damage – more than $200 per American. Iowa, like other states, has suffered from climate-related disasters, especially floods, drought, and ecological disruptions. Several national groups are planning to remember the victims of these climate-related disasters on October 29. Let me know if you would like to help coordinate efforts around the state to remember Hurricane Sandy or just start making your plans for a local remembrance today.
Be A Climate Voter November 4 – You can sign up to be a “climate voter” through NextGen Climate at the following web address: https://nextgenclimate.org/register/
Citizens Climate Lobby Regional Conference, Des Moines, November 7 to 9 – Mark your calendars now for the CCL regional conference in Des Moines Nov. 7 to 9.
I hope this information is helpful. Thank you for your advocacy in support of the climate action we so urgently need.
Senator Rob Hogg
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
If one didn’t think the U.S. discussion of climate change was political, think again. U.S. Rep. David McKinley (R-West Virginia), added an amendment to a House appropriations bill to fund the Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would prohibit the two agencies from using funds that would “design, implement, administer or carry out specified assessments regarding climate change.”
Another way to put it, from McKinley’s perspective, is if you don’t like science, ban it.
House Republicans took exception to the Department of Defense addressing the recommendations of the National Climate Assessment, and have added two agencies whose work is directly related to mitigating the effects of extreme weather to their list.
The floor debate captured the essence of the politics of climate change:
“Spending precious resources to pursue a dubious climate change agenda compromises our clean-energy research and America’s infrastructure,” McKinley said on the House floor. “Congress should not be spending money pursuing ideologically driven experiments.”
Speaking against the amendment, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) said it disregards the research of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists.
“The Republicans, in general, don’t seem to trust the scientists,” Kaptur said. “This amendment requires the Department of Energy to assume that carbon pollution isn’t harmful and that climate change won’t cost a thing. That’s nothing but a fantasy.”
What next? Click here to read the rest of David Gutman’s coverage of this story in the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette.
And consider that June 2014 was the hottest month on record since records have been collected. Politicians like McKinley would deny the reality of human contributions toward global warming at the same time climate data released from the National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that the worldwide average temperature over land and sea in June 2014 was 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the 20th century average of 59.9 degrees. That is reality.
People seeking scientific proof of anthropogenic global climate change are barking up the wrong tree. The goal of science, if unlike McKinley, we accept science, is not to prove, but to explain aspects of the natural world.
Around 1850, physicist John Tyndall discovered that carbon dioxide traps heat in our atmosphere, producing the greenhouse effect, which enables all of creation as we know it to live on Earth.
Carbon dioxide increased as a percentage of our atmosphere since Tyndall’s time at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. As a result, Earth’s average temperature increased by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
The disturbance of the global carbon cycle and related increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere is identifiably anthropogenic because of the isotope signature of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
We can also observe the effects of global warming in worldwide glacier retreat, declining Arctic ice sheets, sea level rise, warming oceans, ocean acidification, and increased intensity of weather events.
It is no wonder almost all of climate scientists and all of the national academies of science in the world agree climate change is real, it is happening now, it’s caused by humans, and is cause for immediate action before it is too late.
Politicians like McKinley don’t get it, and advocate against reality. That’s nothing new for some members of the Republican Party.
Based on some research I have been conducting in my basement over the years, most recently Monday. That was the worst storm I ever saw ……
We have lived in the same house for a long time. When we moved in we were told that the basement “would get a little water in it on occasion.” I was young and quite naive. There was a sump pump and I didn’t worry too much. We lived here for 6 years before we got nailed with a downpour on an Independence day weekend. We got water in the basement. We had some stuff down there that we lost. Nothing big. Lesson learned. Be careful what you put in the basement.
We never had dreams of the basement becoming a finished basement. It’s purpose was to hold a household utilities (up at least 3 feet off the ground), and as a shelter from storms. I had used it as a place to lift weights and had a small workshop over the years.
Before the next water incident We had a basement wall cave in due to the extreme dry weather. The ground was so dry the earth shrank from the wall and the wall could not handle the full weight only on the wall. We were far from the only ones who had that problem.
Our next encounter with water was almost ten years or so after the first in ’93. Who didn’t have problems that year? Then it was a little shorter time, with some problems in the late ’90s. The next came after a shorter time span. Now we seem to get significant water every year. We have nothing down there anymore except fans to dry it up after the storms. Our utilities are still down there but should be up high enough that they are not bothered.
This is not an exercise in “woe is me.” This is just to illustrate that by simple observation that things are changing and they are changing quickly. Whether you believe it is caused by man or not it is hard to deny that the climate is changing. Scientists the world over have come to independent conclusions that the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is directly related to the changing climate.
Even if you do not believe the changing climate is caused by man, if it is caused by greenhouse gasses then man can do something to hopefully turn it around by contributing less such gasses to the atmosphere. When we move to less pollution we will also create jobs and make the nation healthier through better air to breathe. Working to turn our climate back around will be a major WIN, WIN, WIN for us all.
The Keystone Pipeline is a powerful symbol of the urgent necessity for climate action. On July 19, the Great March for Climate Action crosses the proposed path of the pipeline outside Bradshaw, Nebraska. We are working with Bold Nebraska on a major public event, and I hope you’ll consider attending to send the message that the pipeline must be stopped.
With a deep sense of urgency I need to ask you step forward and donate to our “Erase the Pipeline” fundraising drive. We have raised $14,363 of the $50,000 necessary to get us through Nebraska. Every time you help us reach a benchmark en route to our goal, we’ll erase a piece of the pipeline. Otherwise, other marchers and I will have to resort to pulling up the pipeline with our bare hands . . . like this:
I made an $18,000 personal commitment to helping the March by declining to accept a salary. I am challenging other marchers to deepen their commitment and make additional sacrifices to assure our success. I challenge you, our supporters, to do so as well. To donate now, click here.
In one-on-one conversations, in small groups, and through social and traditional media– the March is having a far-reaching impact. Thanks to all who have stepped forward to make this epic journey possible.
(Editor’s Note: Al Gore’s article in the June 18 issue of Rolling Stone is hopeful about the climate crisis in a way we have not heard lately. As members of Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps, we see the former vice president receives his share of criticism. He is also on the leading edge of advocacy to mitigate the causes of global warming and related climate change. That makes this article a must read).
The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate
It’s time to accelerate the shift toward a low-carbon future
By Al Gore
In the struggle to solve the climate crisis, a powerful, largely unnoticed shift is taking place. The forward journey for human civilization will be difficult and dangerous, but it is now clear that we will ultimately prevail. The only question is how quickly we can accelerate and complete the transition to a low-carbon civilization. There will be many times in the decades ahead when we will have to take care to guard against despair, lest it become another form of denial, paralyzing action. It is true that we have waited too long to avoid some serious damage to the planetary ecosystem– some of it, unfortunately, irreversible. Yet the truly catastrophic damages that have the potential for ending civilization as we know it can still– almost certainly– be avoided. Moreover, the pace of the changes already set in motion can still be moderated significantly.
To read the rest of the article, click here: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-turning-point-new-hope-for-the-climate-20140618#ixzz354z36Izt
“The United States has a moral responsibility to act on climate,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Monday, June 2. Her agency proposed what they described as “a commonsense plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants.” New rules would potentially cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by up to to 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. We couldn’t agree more with the need for action, yet the regulations proposed by EPA to reduce emissions were underwhelming.
While it is important to support the administration initiative, some bandwidth must be reserved for the rest of the fight regarding mitigating the effects of climate change. To serve that purpose, Blog for Iowa made this list of links as a reference for readers.
The proposed rules are here along with a number of additional EPA links to related topics.
The draft rule will be politically contentious, as has been almost every proposal, appointment or executive action by the Obama administration. The Washington Post presents a step by step explanation of the rule making and political fight over it. The article is titled, “Everything you need to know about the EPA’s proposed rule on coal plants.”
Dr. Wendy Ring of Climate 911 recently rode her bicycle across the country, including stops in Iowa, to discuss negative health outcomes related to climate change. “We can do better,” said Dr. Ring of the EPA proposed rules. “It is technically and economically feasible for the U.S. to do much better.” She provided the following links to support her argument:
“Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy” by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.: Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 2030” by The American Solar Energy Society.
The Solutions Project’s 50 state plans for conversion to 100% renewable energy.
There is a lot to learn about the proposed EPA rules, yet perfect can be the enemy of good. It is time to act on climate, and the administration initiative, while not as good as one hoped, is better than no action at all.
Here is the White House’s web page on the new rules along with social media share buttons.
Organizing for Action has also asked for support here.
On Thursday, U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley released a statement on the proposed rules here.
Hit the follow button to stay tuned to Blog for Iowa’s continuing coverage of the EPA rule making on emissions from power plants.
Bruce Braley Statement on Carbon Reduction Plan
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Washington, D.C.– Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today released the following statement after the announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency of a preliminary plan to reduce carbon emissions.
“In the year before these standards go into effect I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of Iowa to ensure that this proposal works for our consumers and businesses—but it’s clear that Iowa utilities are ahead of the curve on these standards, and that’s good news for Iowa’s consumers. The bottom line is that climate disruption is real, and that Iowa has been a global leader in tackling it head on with tremendous growth in areas like wind energy and renewable fuels. Reducing our carbon output is not only necessary for the health of the planet, it’s an opportunity to continue to improve the health of the Iowa economy—which is and will remain my number one priority.”