In the past two weeks, Moscow and Blaine County have put their communities on a path to significantly reduce emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. CVI is proud of our work with partners over the last three years to support these plans. Both are huge steps forward for local communities, and will act as an essential blueprint for other communities throughout Idaho and the Intermountain West.
Climate impacts through a local lens
While the IPCC Report outlines climate impacts on a global and regional scale, the impacts feel more real when viewed through a local lens. In Moscow, local professors from the University of Idaho and members of the Sustainable Environment Committee authored a comprehensive analysis, Climate Change Impacts Assessment of Moscow. Unfortunately, the impacts are already felt by Idahoans, in the form of longer and more intense heat waves, longer and more severe wildfires, reduced snowpack, increased risk of extreme weather, lengthening drought season, and worsening air quality.
Despite these challenges, local community and elected officials are making significant progress toward mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Leadership in the Wood River Valley
In the Wood River Valley, CVI worked with the Idaho Chapter Sierra Club, Climate Action Coalition of the Wood River Valley, local volunteers and stakeholders, and passionate elected officials to support 100% clean energy commitments in Blaine County and the cities of Hailey, Ketchum, and Bellevue.
These communities are now taking concrete action to reach those goals, such as passing “EV Ready” electrical codes, hiring new sustainability staff to implement initiatives, and assembling a stakeholder group (of which CVI is a member) to develop a climate plan.
Under the leadership of Blaine County Sustainability Manager Lynne Barker, the stakeholder group recommended the passage of an additional resolution that would commit Blaine County and its cities to the ICLEI Race to Zero. Last week, Blaine County Commissioners passed the resolution, taking an exciting step forward.
As explained in more depth in the resolution, the Race to Zero sets a goal for a city or county to cut CO2 emissions 50% by 2030, reach full carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest, and take immediate high-impact actions to hit those targets. ICLEI also provides necessary expertise, connections, and resources for the county.
Next, the five cities in Blaine County will have an opportunity to sign on and work jointly towards this critical goal.
Leadership in Moscow, Idaho
At the September 27th Sustainability Workshop, Moscow City staff members outlined their recommendations to develop a plan to both achieve Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” and ICLEI’s Race to Zero targets. The City Council, which includes multiple CVI-endorsed Council members, instructed staff to develop a plan to reach these ambitious goals.
CVI was proud to support the advocacy for these goals, actions that were led by the Climate Justice League (a group of local youth advocates), the Idaho Chapter Sierra Club, and the Climate Action Working Group.
The plan to reach these complementary goals will be developed by staff with significant public input over the next 6+ months and voted on by the City Council in spring 2022. For updates on how to engage, as well as ongoing clean energy updates, you can sign up for CVI’s Monthly Clean Energy Newsletter by signing our clean energy petition.
A Blueprint for the Future
In 2020, the City of Boise rolled out the Climate Action Roadmap, a comprehensive and ambitious plan that hits Race to Zero and other climate targets, while centering equity, human health, and growing the climate economy.
In addition to the direct benefit for Boise, the Roadmap created a blueprint for other cities to utilize. Yet without Boise’s size and resources, Blaine County and Moscow can’t just copy Boise’s model. By creating their own unique plans, Blaine County and Moscow are both creating scaled blueprints that will be essential for similarly sized communities to look to.
Given the ingenuity and dedication of local advocates, elected officials, and staff, CVI will be able to share the policies and initiatives of these communities to other Idaho communities as we continue our work to reach 100% clean energy and carbon neutrality throughout Idaho.
To find out more about CVI’s support of climate and clean energy commitments in Idaho and learn how to get involved in your community, sign our clean energy petition to get updates via email.
**Update: The city of Hailey joined Blaine County in signing on to the ICLEI 150 Race to Zero on October 12th.**