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Governor’s Climate Move Makes Idaho Part of National Discussion

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Governor’s Climate Move Makes Idaho Part of National Discussion
Snake River Alliance News Release
Aug. 8, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT INFORMATION
Ken Miller, Clean Energy Program Director
Phone Office: (208) 344-9161
Phone Cell: (208) 890-3944

Gov. Butch Otter’s long-awaited decision to include Idaho in the national Climate Registry will help ensure that Idaho is part of the national climate-change discussion and will benefit Idaho businesses that are already reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, the Snake River Alliance said today.

“Until today, Idaho and Alaska had the distinction of being alone in the West in not participating in the Climate Registry,” said Ken Miller, the Alliance’s Clean Energy Program director. “Gov. Otter’s action ensures Idaho will at least be a participant in the national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.”

Participation in the three-month-old Climate Registry (www.theclimateregistry.org) commits Idaho to joining the majority of states that have agreed to set uniform standards for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions. The program is voluntary, but will benefit businesses in participating states because they’ll be recognized for the greenhouse gas reductions they’re implementing and will be credited for those actions once national greenhouse gas emission controls take effect. Idaho will also benefit by participating in a program that uses nationally recognized standards to gauge its progress.

In May, Gov. Otter directed the Department of Environmental Quality to inventory Idaho’s greenhouse gas emissions in conjunction with other state agencies. DEQ will next recommend to Gov. Otter various measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That process is expected to last well into next year.

Addressing attendees at the Idaho Environmental Forum Fourth Annual Boise River Conference on climate change issues Wednesday afternoon, DEQ Director Toni Hardesty acknowledged governments have been slower than academics and scientists to come to terms with climate change issues. But Director Hardesty said Idaho is quickly catching up, telling those at the IEF conference, “A year from now, you’re going to see a whole different look to this issue.”

“It’s important that any greenhouse gas reduction regime includes a uniform system to verify results,” Miller said. “The next logical step for Idaho will be to join other western states in the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative so Idaho can benefit from the region-wide greenhouse gas reduction efforts already under way.”

For the past year, mayors in six Idaho cities committed to the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement and have already begun steps to reduce their cities’ “carbon footprint.” Several Idaho businesses have likewise committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Boise Cascade has pledged to cut its emissions 10 percent below 2004 levels by 2014.

In addition, Idaho is home to abundant emissions-free renewable energy resources – including wind, geothermal, solar, and biomass – that remain largely undeveloped due to regulatory and other hurdles unique to Idaho.

“Scientists in Idaho and across the Northwest agree that global warming is already affecting our state,” Miller said. “Changes in precipitation, such as the elevation of snowfall and earlier releases of snowmelt, are already affecting our hydropower system, irrigation, and recreation. And whether you believe global warming is happening or whether human activities are part of the problem, regulations on carbon emissions are inevitable, and they will affect everyone in Idaho.”

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