Monday, May 20, 2019

InsideClimate News reporting project with 14 Midwest newsrooms includes stories on farmers, rural energy use

Reporters in 14 newsrooms across the Midwest teamed up with InsideClimate News to explore local solutions to climate change, and the result is a package of stories called "Middle America's Low-Hanging Carbon," implicitly arguing that there are many relatively simple steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in a politically pivotal region vulnerable to a warming world.

"Summers will warm faster in the Midwest than in any other American region, according to the National Climate Assessment," John J. Cushman of ICN notes. "​And these states form the hinge of the nation's intensifying political debate over climate change. Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, devoted to saving coal and hostile to the Paris climate accord, succeeded in swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa—all won by Barack Obama in 2012. Two years after Trump's victory, in the 2018 midterms, lots of upper Midwest congressional districts and governorships flipped the other way, putting in place new leaders with high climate ambitions."

The package includes stories about a beef-cattle farmer in Illinois offsetting his climate footprint, a small dairy farm in Iowa doing likewise, Wisconsin dairies wary of investing in digesters to make energy from manure, and stories about energy use in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana and other states.

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