Iowa scientists urge candidates to accept climate change

A group of 31 scientists from 22 universities and colleges in Iowa issued a statement to GOP presidential candidates on Tuesday, urging them to “acknowledge the science of climate change.”
 
The letter, which was drafted by four climate science researchers at Iowa State University, will be delivered to Gov. Terry Branstad’s office on Tuesday.

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"I believe it is important for Iowans to know that scientists who live and work in communities across our state understand that climate change is real and has serious implications for our future," said David Courard-Hauri, assistant professor of environmental science and policy at Drake University, in a statement. "This is an issue that all candidates for elected office, from city council to President of the United States, should acknowledge and address through public policy."

The letter cited rainfall patterns and other climate indicators as evidence that Iowa is already experiencing the effects of climate change, which the scientists say could negatively affect farming — a lynchpin of the Iowa economy.

“As the global climate continues to evolve, our farmers and city planners will face new challenges to maintain the prosperity of our state and its role in national and global food security,” the letter read in part.

The scientists said that lawmakers needed to adopt “appropriate policy responses” to the threat.

“All major scientific societies and the US National Academy of Science have affirmed that the recent rise in greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere has contributed to changes in our climate,” the letter continued. “We urge all candidates for public office at national, state, and local levels to acknowledge the overwhelming balance of evidence for the underpinning causes of climate change, to develop appropriate policy responses, and to develop local and statewide strategies to adapt to near-term changes in climate.”

While the letter did not address the Republican presidential candidates specifically, candidates are currently campaigning in the early-voting state, and the statement will be read at the Iowa Energy Forum in Des Moines on Wednesday.

Most of the GOP presidential field disputes that human activity is responsible for climate change, and some have charged liberals as using what they say is an unsettled matter to push a green-energy policy.

Jon Huntsman, who is currently polling around 1 percent, is the only GOP presidential candidate to take a definitive stand on the side of climate change.

“To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy,” he tweeted in August.

Newt Gingrich has called an ad he filmed on climate change with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) the “biggest mistake” of his political career, and Mitt Romney, who has previously stated that humans are responsible for climate change, has more recently said “we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.”

Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum have all to varying degrees disputed the science behind climate change.