Climate

Responding to the threats of climate change by looking at how we use energy.

Hot Topic: Use Your Power Wisely

Often environmental problems can seem overwhelming to fix. Climate change certainly can. But in fact, each of us has many opportunities to protect our air and quality of life by cutting power plant pollution. You can complement ICL’s policy efforts through simple actions at home and work. Together we will create the healthy Idaho we all desire.

While seemingly overwhelming, in fact, the fastest and cheapest way to combat climate change is to reduce our energy consumptions. Each of us has the personal power to do so.

As Idahoans turn on their air conditioners, energy demands spike. Power companies often turn on gas plants to meet this need. With coal plants already running flat out, this summer energy spike leads to huge amounts of air pollution.

Here are simple ways to use your personal power wisely:

  • Cook outside — Along with not heating up your house, cooking out is one of the joys of summer.
  • Use the cool night air — Opening your windows at night means more comfortable sleeping and a cooler house to start the day.
  • Use your thermostat — Cooling an empty house is wasteful. So set the thermostat to 78° and only run the AC when you’re home.
  • Shade south-facing windows — Thick curtains or trees blocking out the sun can cut cooling needs by 50%!
  • Cool your lid — The sun on your roof can heat your attic and crawlspaces to 150 degrees or more. So insulate your ceiling, install an attic fan, grow a big tree, or even install a white roof to beat the heat.

ICL’s Climate Work

Idaho’s climate is changing. Stories from farmers, ranchers, scientists and everyday Idahoans all describe how the patterns of hot and cold, wet and dry, are different today than decades ago. Scientists all agree that human pollution is altering the chemistry of our atmosphere and trapping more of the sun’s heat.

Idaho researchers document that a warming climate is moving the timing of seasons—winter is shorter and summer is longer. This change means precipitation is more likely to be rain instead of the snowpack that traditionally supplies 85% of the water Idahoans rely upon in summer months. Hot, dry summers mean more frequent and severe wildfires.

ICL is expanding our climate work to address these threats to Idaho’s iconic flora, fauna and landscapes. Our first priority is to protect these values from the inevitable impacts of climate change.

ICL is protecting Idaho by:

  • Protecting landscapes through wilderness designations and creating refugia for wildlife and fish
  • Working in forest collaboratives to connect protected lands and waters and allow wildlife and fish to migrate in response to climate
  • Addressing growing fire threats by finding common ground on appropriate forestry projects
  • Monitoring and challenging other stresses on the landscape like mines and unnecessary development.

ICL’s second priority is to stop further harm by removing fossil fuels from Idaho’s energy system.

ICL is changing Idaho’s energy system by:

  • Advocating for utility and government incentives for energy conservation
  • Engaging with utility planners and regulators to replace coal power with clean energy
  • Supporting the right of all Idahoans to meet energy needs with distributed solar power
  • Asking cities to adopt conservation and clean energy standards
  • Encouraging individuals and businesses to conserve energy

What You Can Do

Protecting Idaho from climate change requires everyone to take action. We ask you to consider acting in three ways.

At home and work

  • Lights are a major energy user—switch to LED blubs and flip off switches in empty rooms.
  • Heating and cooling uses a lot of energy—set thermostats just a couple of degrees to save lots of energy in winter and summer.
  • Plug electronics into power strips and turn them off when not in use.
  • Purchase energy star labeled appliance.

In your community

  • Encourage friends, family, and coworkers to take the actions above.
  • Ask your city to adopt strong building energy use codes.

Influence decision makers

  • Join ICL’s Energy News (sign up for email alerts at the top of the page) and speak up when opportunities arise.
  • Tell your elected officials you support conservation and clean energy

ICL Successes