By Bill Ferrel
As a Republican voter in the upcoming Iowa caucuses, I see an extremely important issue that the presidential candidates have not yet addressed: energy and global climate change. At their straw poll (Saturday) in Ames, I want the candidates to answer how they will provide leadership to bring about positive action on this issue.
Iowans have felt, and continue to feel, the impact of the historic weather events.
As a locally hired public assistance disaster worker with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2008, I had contact with state employees, city and county officials and homeowners. While all of these people appreciated the federal and state money, time and effort toward recovery, they also often wondered why we are seeing these events and how long we can afford to spend the billions of dollars that are required.
The average number of federal disaster declarations per year since 1953 is 34. In the last three years, however, there have been 75, 59 and 81 such declarations, with 57 already this year. Iowa had four in 2010. In 2011, we have had two and Gov. Branstad just asked for one more.
Considering the trend, these events and their causes must be addressed.
There are other problems with our dependence on non-renewable energy.
The price of oil continues to fluctuate rapidly. We have seen too many oil spills. We have been drawn into war in the oil-rich parts of the world, including President Obama’s recent venture into Libya.
Obama talks about dealing with these problems, but he hasn’t gotten any results. By contrast, former President Reagan signed the Montreal Protocol to begin regulating ozone-depleting gases to protect the global environment from further damage to the ozone layer. As California governor, Reagan was a leader against urban smog.
We expect leadership from the next president to create jobs, break our dependence on non-renewable energy, and mitigate devastation before historic weather events happen.
In Iowa, we have been making great strides in addressing the need for renewable energy and moving toward a sustainable energy future. We are a world leader in wind energy production, providing 2,667 jobs with an annual payroll of
$70.2 million in that industry, according to the Iowa Wind Energy Association. Landowners receive an estimated $12.67 million annually in land lease payments and there’s been a $1.5 billion increase in the property tax assessed value.
Clean, homegrown energy is one answer to climate change and our economic woes.
Republican candidates need to address these questions:
l What will you do to promote the creation of desperately needed jobs in renewable energy and sustainable practices?
l What will you do to address the rapid escalation in the frequency and severity of historic weather events?
l How will you protect our national security
interests as the price of oil continues to fluctuate as the world’s needs grow?
l How will you keep us from another war in the oil-rich part of the world?
l Will you bring respect and honor to our country with support for the immediate reduction in carbon dioxide emissions?
Republicans need our candidate and the next president to be a world leader on energy and climate change.
Bill Ferrel of Coralville is president of Agape Sustainability Advisors. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
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