State Sen. Daryl Beall visited Iowa Central Community College Friday to talk with students informally about climate change.
"There's something to be said about it," the Fort Dodge Democrat said. "I think we need to raise the level of debate on it. I was just talking to (a student) and he believes it's more natural and not man-produced. I think man contributes to it, the so-called carbon footprint. I think there's scientific evidence it's real."
Beall is supporting the Climate Action Across Iowa initiative started by state Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, to start a discussion about the issue and the need for reform following Hurricanes Sandy and Irene.
Hogg on Friday toured Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Davenport.
"I just thought I'd stop by," Beall said. "I have an affinity, obviously, with Iowa Central, so I like to stop by and see what's happening."
Beall spoke with students in the college's student center, not to talk up any legislation but to help get the climate conversation started.
"This isn't a classroom, but I'm a former teacher and I just like meeting with students and find out, get a pulse of what they're doing and what it's all about," he said.
Nadia Morneau, an Iowa Central Green Club member, set up a display in the student center with facts about climate change and tips for being more green.
"I think we need to be aware personally," Morneau said. "We're getting involved, getting recycling bins up everywhere, so more students will also be involved in thinking about recycling."
Morneau said she was surprised by Beall's visit.
"It's neat having him here, getting his opinions on things," she said.
Students stopping by the display and visiting their special guest were receptive to Green Club's ideas, Morneau said, and helping the effort.
"They actually seem to be interested in giving their opinions on it too."
Beall applauded Iowa Central's efforts in biodiesel and technology research.
"One thing I'm firmly committed to, and that's renewable energy. I'm a big proponent of wind power and also biodiesel and ethanol," he said. "The things Don Heck (lab director) is working with at the Iowa Central biotech center. That's one thing we can all do. It's good for Iowa farmers, it's good for the consumer, for the environment. It makes us more energy-independent, and less reliant on fossil fuels."
Beall said he has been a proponent of energy efficiency in the Iowa state Senate.
"In the Legislature, I have worked to help with incentives on wind and renewable energy, including biomass," he said. "There's a lot we can do in that area, certainly. That's probably what I've contributed mostly in the area of renewable energy."
For more information about Climate Action Across Iowa, visit www.iowaclimateadvocates.org.