Here are five questions Iowans can ask candidates for
President about climate change to improve the public discussion about this
dioxide levels in the atmosphere went up 2.3 parts per million in 2014 and
have just passed 400 parts per million (compared to a pre-industrial level of
280). Nitrous oxide levels are around 325 parts per billion (compared
to a pre-industrial level of 270). Methane levels average around 1800
parts per billion (compared to a pre-industrial level of 722). Do you support efforts to slow down and
stop the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? Do you have a goal for stopping the buildup
of these greenhouse gases? Is there a danger level beyond which the
world should not go? How high are you
willing to allow greenhouse gas concentrations to go?
President Reagan signed an international agreement (the Montreal Protocol) to
fight stratospheric ozone depletion.
In 1991, President Bush strengthened that agreement. Do you support international agreements to
fight climate change? What is your
strategy for getting China and India more involved in the fight against
climate change? How about other large polluters
like Russia, Europe, Japan, OPEC, Brazil, and Indonesia?
Americans believe we need to slow down and stop the buildup of carbon dioxide
and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
If elected, how would you reduce greenhouse gas pollution? Do
you support incentives like the renewable energy production tax credit that
has helped grow Iowa’s wind and solar energy industries, regulations like the
EPA’s carbon pollution rules, carbon fees, or something else?
levels from climate-related disasters are increasing in the United
States. Iowa has suffered 20
presidentially declared disasters since 2007, including the unprecedented
damage from the Flood of 2008 that caused nearly $10 billion in damage. What specific ways would you help Iowans
and other Americans address climate-related disasters like extreme floods,
drought, invasive species, rising seas, and ocean acidification?
October, 2014, the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, released a report on
climate change for the Department of Defense, stating that climate change
“will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and
conflict.” Other military leaders have
warned that climate change is a “threat multiplier” for security around the
world. How will you address the
economic, humanitarian, and security consequences of disasters around the
world like drought in Syria or typhoon damage in the Philippines?
By asking these types of
questions, Iowans can help elevate the discourse about climate change before
the 2016 elections. It is not enough for a candidate to say he or she
believes that climate change is real (or not real). Iowans need to push
our political leaders to address the reality of existing greenhouse pollution
in the atmosphere, the ongoing increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas
levels, and the reality of climate-related disasters.