BLAINE COUNTY CITIZENS FOR CLEAN ENERGY
BLAINE COUNTY CITIZENS FOR SMART GROWTH
IDAHO CONSERVATION LEAGUE
IDAHO ENERGY EDUCATION PROJECT
IDAHO RIVERS UNITED
SIERRA CLUB – NORTHERN ROCKIES CHAPTER
SNAKE RIVER ALLIANCE
IDAHO ORGANIZATIONS URGE GOV. OTTER TO PARTICIPATE IN CLIMATE REGISTRY
Idaho’s failure to join the newly announced national Climate Registry would cost the state and its important businesses valuable time and money if Idaho is left behind the national effort to assess and control greenhouse gases, a coalition of Idaho environmental and smart-growth organizations said today.
“At least 30 states, one tribe, and two provinces had signed on to the Registry before today, and unfortunately, Idaho was not among them,” said Ken Miller, Clean Energy Program Director of the Snake River Alliance. “These states, and the businesses in them, would benefit by being credited with actions they’re already taking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”
On behalf of their 20,000-plus Idaho members, the organizations delivered a letter to the governor on April 18, urging his support for what has become a bipartisan effort by the states and their governors to inventory and control climate-changing greenhouse gases before a far more costly regulatory regime is imposed on the states by Congress. (A full copy of the letter is available upon request.)
“We urge you to continue working with leaders across the state to develop more forward-looking policies and programs to stabilize and reduce emissions of global warming pollution,” the letter said. “This policy neutral Climate Registry provides a low cost opportunity for Idaho to support our business leaders who recognize the economic and environmental benefits of reporting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also allows the state to have a voice in important future national carbon policy decisions.”
The groups said many Idaho cities and businesses are already taking a leadership role in being part of the solution to global warming. Mayors of six Idaho cities, from Sandpoint to Boise to the Wood River Valley and Pocatello, have joined more than 460 cities nationwide in signing the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement and have begun finding local solutions to cut pollution, save gasoline and other fuels, and reduce their cities’ greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses such as Boise Cascade have committed to reducing their carbon emissions, with Boise Cascade pledging to cut its emission 10 percent below 2004 levels by 2014. Meanwhile, a number of Idaho-based businesses are accepting considerable financial risk and moving ahead with developing geothermal, wind, and other renewable energy resources.
A growing number of corporations and businesses are encouraging creation of a national greenhouse gas program in part because it’s good business sense. Interstate corporations, including many in Idaho, stand to benefit from a single and predictable set of greenhouse gas emission standards rather than face different standards in each state. Furthermore, some Idaho businesses such as Hewlett Packard operate in states such as California that already have stringent greenhouse gas regimes.
As the organizations noted in their April letter to the governor, “Idaho has a high stake in tackling global warming pollution. Global warming threatens Idaho’s economic well-being, human health, and premier environmental quality. Peer-reviewed studies in Idaho and in the Northwest warn that Idaho’s tourism, water supplies, agriculture, forestry, recreational businesses, and renowned ski industry could be at risk.”
The groups noted that preliminary reports by state and federal agency members of the Idaho Department of Water Resources’ Climate Impact Subcommittee are pointing to observable changes in snowfall levels in Idaho’s mountains and changes in the timing of spring runoff and water conditions – all of which can impact Idaho’s water supply for such things as agriculture, recreation, and hydropower energy generation.
“This isn’t an issue of whether you believe global warming is happening or whether humans are causing it,” said Kevin Lewis, Conservation Director with Idaho Rivers United. “It is inevitable that carbon emissions will soon be regulated, and those regulations will have an impact on all the states and the people and businesses in those states.
“There is still time for Idaho to participate as an original member of the Climate Registry,” Lewis said. “To sit on the sidelines while critical decisions are being made that will affect us all should not be an option.”