Iowa scientists: Drought a sign of climate change

Associated Press Modified: November 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm •  Published: November 19, 2012

Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Washington-based conservative think tank Cato Institute, said there's no evidence global warming contributed to this summer's drought. He doesn't deny that global warming is real and that man-made pollutants may contribute to it, but says it has a very small impact overall.

Michaels said the scientists who signed on to the report are "nibbling around the edges" with their recommendations that Americans use more renewable energy sources, such as wind power and ethanol, and build homes to be more efficient. He says any action the United States takes wouldn't be that effective because China and India are emitting increasing amounts of pollutants that contribute to global warming.

The Iowa scientists said they're statement is not one of gloom and doom, but meant to indicate investments can be made now to slow the economic impact of weather extremes and to help communities adapt to the changes.

One scientist who helped draft the report, Dave Courard-Hauri, chairman of environmental science and policy program at Drake University, said continuing to deny the connection between increased storm volatility and a warming climate helps no one.

"We gain nothing if we act as if there's uncertainty where there's not or that there is significant division among scientists regarding the causes of climate change," he said.