Opinion | Climate change is an imminent problem, but we can fix it with local solutions

One solution to climate change is to work locally to reduce co2 emissions by our transportation.


Luke Krchak, Opinions Columnist

As summers get hotter, it seems like we are reaching a point of no return in the fight against climate change. However, we can still continue to fight by instilling change at the local level.

Change at the federal level or even the state level can take years for progress, but at the local level, we can see change a lot quicker, as community members make an effort to change within their own lives. One way to change locally is improving transportation.

Transportation makes up 16.2 percent of the global carbon dioxide emissions, and 15 percent in the state of Iowa. Transportation is one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide, yet it is one the everyday person can lower.

Electric cars are becoming even more of a viable solution in 2021. With tax incentives and the prices for electric cars decreasing, it has become more cost efficient to buy electric vehicles. In President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plans, we could see an increase in electric charging stations across the U.S.

However, this is not the only way we can improve transportation and therefore lower our carbon dioxide emissions. By investing in public transportation, such as busses and trains, we could reduce the number of cars downtown. That would in turn reduce carbon dioxide emissions as well as other forms of pollution, like noise, and traffic.

Since the University of Iowa already has multiple bus options, including Cambus’ routes that are free and available to everyone, downtown Iowa City has environmentally friendly options to use instead of driving. If you live off campus, take the Coralville bus system or carpool to get downtown where there is public transportation.

Two cities in Belgium have caught attention with ways to improve transportation in the downtown area. Residents in Ghent have told of the remarkable benefits of low emission zones, mainly zones in the center of the city where only vehicles that produce little to no carbon dioxide can drive in. This not only reduces carbon dioxide emissions but provides healthy incentives. Ghent residents enjoy more biking as the roads are clearer and space is available. It also limits the noise pollution caused by traffic.

Downtown Iowa City would be perfect for a low emission zone, as the majority of campus can be walked or cycled. The great thing about low emission zones is that they still allow for public transportation. Students could walk to close buildings. For classes that cross the river, it would be beneficial to take the bus.

That is how change needs to start: at the local level. Individuals can make changes within their own community and inspire others to do the same. If we all do our part, we can stop climate change.

The ways individuals can help could be as small as walking or biking more often, or it could be as big as making the switch to electric cars. Climate change is a global problem, but it takes local solutions to beat it. We can improve our lives by not only reducing our carbon dioxide emissions, but by being more active in our communities.

By combining multiple solutions, we could effectively minimize carbon dioxide emissions locally. If Iowa City becomes one of the first to implement low emissions zones and other improvements to transportation, we could be the domino effect to get other cities in Iowa and across the country to follow suit.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.