This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their most comprehensive and startling report yet. It represents the best available science on the climate crisis and it’s clear: human-caused greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electricity and agriculture are causing our climate to warm at an even more alarming rate than previously thought. The Assessment concludes that the planet will warm by 1.5° Celsius in the next two decades unless we take meaningful steps to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution.
These changing patterns of temperature and precipitation are fundamentally impacting our way of life, our safety, and wildlife everywhere. We see these impacts today in Idaho to our natural world through shrinking habitats, rampant wildfires, and warming rivers, and to our communities through urban heat islands, increasing asthma rates, searing heat waves and skyrocketing energy bills. Experts predict more wildfires, less snow, and increased drought in Idaho. This year’s challenges are an indicator of what’s to come.
So, we must adapt and build resilience if we’re going to safeguard our health, economy, and natural resources.
The unprecedented heatwaves and raging wildfires in Idaho are exacerbating drought conditions (16 of Idaho counties are in ‘extreme drought’) – making this year the driest in over a century in the Gem state. With the Big Wood reservoir, Little Wood and the Big Lost reservoir all below 35 percent of normal, water users who rely on surface water may not have any when they need it most. Because of the climate crisis Idahoans can expect to see more droughts and other extreme weather events more often and with more intensity. As an Idaho-based organization, ICL is committed to protecting our communities while reducing Idaho’s contribution to this global crisis.
The secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres said, “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet.” That means at ICL we’re working to minimize sources of greenhouse gas pollution and to make Idaho carbon neutral. Our climate campaign consists of work in three key climate sectors: energy, transportation, and agriculture. These programs help Idahoans conserve energy, cause our utilities to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, encourage the adoption of electric vehicles and mass transit, reduce agricultural methane emissions, and promote the adoption of carbon sequestration practices.
While the IPCC report can seem daunting, there is much we can do together to combat climate change.
You can also tell Idaho leaders Governor Little, Congressman Simpson, Congressman Fulcher, Senator Crapo, and Senator Risch that you care about climate change impacts. All of our Idaho leaders know we must all work together to find solutions, and they need to hear from supporters like you.Finally, we encourage you to ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’ Consider riding your bike, walking, or taking public transportation instead of driving when you can. Consider ways to conserve energy and water use at home. And encourage others to take action as you have done.