Des Moines Mayor Returns from Paris Climate Summit

Dec 14, 2015

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie has returned to Iowa from Paris where he took part in the United Nations Convention on Climate Change as a representative for the U.N.'s Compact of Mayors.

He says in Des Moines, they’ve been trying to improve energy efficiency in city buildings since joining the effort.

"We need to look toward how we make buildings more energy efficient," Cownie says. "There’s about $130 billion wasted just on the waste of heat and cooling and light in buildings per year across the country. We’ve been thinking about that in Des Mones. We’ve renovated the library, and we’re working to make not only our city buildings but also our Dart buses more efficient.”

Cownie says that in Iowa City, leaders have been looking to diversify energy sources. He says Mid-American Energy has been a leader in helping to make that happen. 

“In Iowa, we have a very interesting set of fuel sources. Mid-American energy used 65% coal eight years ago, and split up the rest between hydro-electric power, some nuclear power and some gas power. Rather than fight for more coal, Mid-American decided to go to wind, and much to their credit, they are almost 40% wind today where they were zero percent wind at one time,” Cownie explains.

During this River to River interview, host Ben Kieffer talks with Cownie about his takeaways from his trip to the climate summit.