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Global warming issue heats up I.C.

Group promoting action against global warming pollution

By Cindy Hadish

The Gazette

July 20, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

    IOWA CITY — Mark Sulzer already held firm beliefs on the global warming issue, but a 20-foot-tall inflated globe made the 26-year-old Grinnell man stop and listen Wednesday morning.

    Embellished with painted orange flames, the globe was on its first stop in Iowa as part of a nationwide tour to promote action to reduce global warming pollution.

    ‘‘To prevent the worst impacts on global warming in Iowa, the best science says that we must reduce global warming pollution by 15 to 20 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050,’’ said Alana Stamas of the Iowa Public Interest Research Group.

    Group members held signs reading, ‘‘Safe Climate Safe Future,’’ and ‘‘Iowa Needs Clean Energy’’ next to the globe in the middle of the downtown Pedestrian Mall.

    Stamas noted 2005 was the warmest year on record.

    ‘‘Left unchecked, global warming threatens to cause more frequent and severe heat waves in Iowa,’’ she said. ‘It can also cause more frequent and extreme droughts in Iowa, as warmer temperatures evaporate moisture in the soil more quickly.’’

    Members were joined by University of Iowa law professor Jonathan Carlson, who has examined the issue the past eight years.

    ‘‘(At first) I was skeptical about the need for action on global warming,’’ he said.

    Science has shown over those eight years, Carlson said, ‘‘that global warming is a serious and real phenomena.’’

    Continued at its current pace, he said, global warming will lead to ‘‘an economic blow equivalent to the Great Depression.’’

    Carlson called on Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, to support the Safe Climate Act, which would phase in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

    Ferman Milster UI associate director for utilities and energy management, cited action the university has taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

    Its biomass fuel project replaces coal with oat hulls from Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids, providing a revenue stream for Quaker and reducing emissions while using a renewable fuel, he said.

    The program has saved the UI more than $1 million in fuel costs.

Brian Ray/The Gazette University of Iowa law professor Jonathan Carlson speaks Wednesday at an event held by the Iowa Public Interest Research Group at the Pedestrian Mall in downtown Iowa City to bring attention to the need to reduce global warming pollution. The non-profit, non-partisan Iowa Public Interest Research Group is asking Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, and Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to support reducing global warming pollution by 20 percent by 2020 and by 60 percent to 80 percent by 2050.