Climate Justice

Global climate change is a potentially catastrophic problem. Unchecked climate change will disrupt people’s access to the basic elements of life – food, water, shelter, and health. Because greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are nearly always the result of economic activities, economic policy will play a key role in any effort to mitigate climate change. The size and imminence of the danger from climate change calls for using all potential levers of economic policy—at all levels of government—to reorient economic activity away from GHG emissions. This transition must be guided by principles of racial equity and economic justice that protect, support, and empower working people and highly impacted communities.


Alliant proposal: Equity, efficiency failure

The proposed Alliant rate increase is a sweeping denial of equitable treatment of customers and a rejection of environmental responsibility.

Alliant Energy, called Interstate Power and Light (IPL) in Iowa, is proposing a nearly 25 percent increase in its basic service rate. Since Alliant divides its charges to customers into energy, transmission, and basic service, the total bill increase will not be that large but it is a pretty big increase.

Since electric utilities are monopolies, some entity needs to “regulate” their actions. In Iowa this is the role of the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), which must decide on the rate increase. The IUB can certainly reduce the proposed rate and can change the way IPL wants to charge individual customers.

Flooding impacts and climate change: An uncertain future for Iowa

Iowa is becoming hotter and wetter because of climate change, putting a policy response in the hands of leaders who already are dealing with problems of more frequent flooding that may become more extreme events as our climate changes. “Science is giving us warnings,” said James E. Boulter, a professor of Chemistry in the Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire.
“Even those who have not lived it have seen the pictures, of rooftops surrounded by floodwaters, breached levees, destroyed grain bins and impassable roads. Flooding is getting worse, and we have public policy options that can lessen the impact in the coming years.” Boulter’s new report for the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project notes total statewide damage estimates from the 2019 flooding are staggering and likely to rise.

Climate Change is Hazardous to Ohio Children’s Health

Climate change is hazardous to children’s health. Heatwaves degrade air quality, exacerbating symptoms of asthma, one of the most common chronic childhood illnesses. Heavy rains and flooding can contaminate public water supplies with bacteria to which children are especially susceptible. Warmer average temperatures allow insect populations to multiply, and with them the incidence of insect-borne diseases like West Nile Virus. Here in Ohio, children are already being hurt by climate change, and the harm is projected to get worse.

In Ohio and throughout the Midwest, we will continue to experience hotter and more frequent heatwaves, heavier rains, declining air quality, increased flooding, and changes to our ecosystem that encourage the spread of disease. The results, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Midwest climate assessment, will include “substantial, yet avoidable, loss of life [and] worsened health conditions.”[1] Children are especially at risk.[2] Negative health impacts can permanently affect their rapidly developing bodies.

This report explores the impacts already being felt here in Ohio, what we can expect in the future if we fail to fully address climate change, and policy solutions that Ohio decision-makers can implement right here and now to prevent the worst health impacts of climate change.