Over two-dozen scientists from across Iowa have signed a statement urging candidates for public office to acknowledge global warming and offer suggestions for addressing it during this election. One of the creators of the statement is Gene Takle, the director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University.

Takle was in Beijing last week representing the United States at a conference on climate change and food security.  “Other nations are looking to the U.S. to take leadership with regard to climate change, so it’s important that we use the best available science for making these decisions,” Takle says.

Takle says there’s overwhelming consensus among scientists worldwide that the climate is changing and humans are playing a large role in that.  It’s been a contentious issue on the campaign trail during debates among the Republican candidates for president.

 Takle says he concerned about the implications for public policy. “From what I’ve been hearing, there’s a mixture of perspectives on whether or not the science is clear on evidence for climate change,” Takle says, “and so I feel that perhaps there’s a need to rely more heavily on what the overwhelming scientific consensus is.”

Takle says the impact of climate change is already being felt in many areas, and that should be of particular concern for a state whose economy relies so heavily on agriculture. He says he’d like to see presidential candidates hold a forum to discuss ways the U.S. can mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The 31 signers of the statement come from 22 Iowa colleges and universities. The document is being delivered to Governor Terry Branstad’s office today.

You can see the full statement here: elpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/IAClimatestatement.pdf>