Letter to the Editor | The University of Iowa needs to eliminate carbon emissions by 2030

In order to combat climate change, the UI needs to transition to carbon free energy by 2030.


Ayrton Breckenridge

University of Iowa Environmental Coalition members and 100 Grannies members protest on the Pentacrest on Friday, April 16, 2021, over the use of pesticides. The groups listed all the pesticides used on campus along with their health and environmental effects.

The University of Iowa, like every other institution, small or large, public or private, needs to transition to carbon-free energy by 2030. You might tell me this is too soon, but the truth is that it should have been done years ago. The UI and its private partners will say that I don’t understand the logistics involved: the capital investments, the technical difficulties, the bureaucratic hurdles.

Do they understand climate collapse? Maybe they don’t know that global warming is no longer thought to be a slow and steady rise in temperature, a linear function on a graph. Instead, it will occur in leaps — most of them irreversible — as we breach climate tipping points. If we fail to act, this in turn will cause a cascade effect of runaway warming, rendering impossible the survival of our civilizations.

This deadly domino effect, product of the laws of atmospheric chemistry and ocean physics, is even more stubborn than the state Board of Regents. It leaves us with only one option: eliminate carbon emissions as soon as humanly possible. For the UI, this means by 2030. If I am wrong, I challenge the university to prove it by publishing data models. In the meantime, I challenge you, readers, to join us and demand a livable future from the institutions that were created to serve us.

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