The Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council has released a final report on ways for the state to reduce greenhouse gases. Council chair Jerry Schnoor , says the options focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation and agriculture. Schnoor says the council looked at some 56 options and says more than half of the options will save Iowans money in the long run and "hopefully stimulate the economy."
Schnoor, who is also a professor at the University of Iowa, says the other half of the options would cost money to implement. "That is they’re investments, and they are part of what we might consider to be a new green deal in this country and in the state of Iowa," Schnoor says, "they’re investments in our economy to become more energy efficient, to change the way we produce and use energy, and to modify our agricultural practices."
He says most of the options that would take an investment would create jobs, stimulate the economy, and change the energy mix used by Iowans.
The council did not prioritize the 56 options. One thing not recommended is getting rid of coal-burning electric production as some environmentalists are advocating. Commission member and Des Moines mayor, Frank Cownie, says it was an issue that was talked about in the subcommittee meetings.
Cownie says,"There are some of us in this room that had very strong positions on that issue, but we had representatives on all issues that came together." Cownie says they want to eliminate all sources of carbon emissions, but he says there is also the concern there might be some immediate impact on the price of energy if you did get rid of all coal-burning electrical sources.
While half of the options are touted as saving instead of costing the state money, there would still be a cost to implement them before they paid off. D-N-R director Rich Leopold addressed that issue. Leopold says there are already costs for the things we’re doing, citing the gas price volatility, energy bills, and the subsidies paid for different forms of energy. Leopold says the state can’t wait to take action to address the problem of global warming and avoid future costs.
Leopold says this impacts businesses and government and consumers. "This is a transition, and there will be pain felt in this transition, but if we don’t do it now, when are we going to do it?," Leopold asked. The report now goes to the state legislature.
State Representative, Donvan Olson, a Demcrat from Boone, says the options that save money will be the first ones the legislature works on in the tight economy. Olson says the biggest priority will be trying to lesson the carbon from our energy production with things like wind energy.
You can see the full report on the Iowa Climate Advisory Council website .