Executive Order No. 2007-95 signed by Gov. Butch Otter in 2007 warned about future economic and environmental impacts in Idaho of “drought, reduced snow pack, altered precipitation patterns, more severe forest and rangeland fires, and forest diseases.” The identified culprit was the rising atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases resulting from human activities. Despite this glowing endorsement of science by the governor of Idaho, state partisan politics have driven the conversation about climate to a halt.
So who can citizens look to for leadership? The answer could be cities. Cities account for two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions, electricity the largest contributing sector. This opportunity to catapult change is being met by cities that are setting 100 percent renewable energy goals. More than 15 cities in the U.S. have made this commitment, noting a clean energy transition will provide unparalleled benefits to their residents, businesses, economy and environment.
I want to see the city of Boise be the first in Idaho to set a similar goal for 100 percent carbon-free electricity. It would serve the advanced energy businesses prospering in Boise, create a more seductive energy environment for tech companies, protect residents and fit the legacy Boise has established for itself as a climate leader.
Casey Mattoon, Boise