Mountains in distance covered with scrubby plants and some evergreen trees with sagebrush in the foreground.
Heart of the Pioneers View of the Pioneer Mountains © Wide Eye Productions/TNC

Stories in Idaho

Climate Action in Idaho

Together, we can deliver climate solutions that create a brighter future for Idaho.

Idahoans are feeling the impacts of climate change. Across the state, communities are experiencing more frequent and more intense droughts, heat waves, wildfires, smoke and more. These changes have far-reaching consequences that affect every aspect of our lives, from the air we breathe to the food we eat.

Climate Action Begins With a Conversation

Talking about Idaho's changing climate can make a big impact

Read our guide

Without transformative changes that lower carbon emissions, global temperatures will continue to rise and will result in much worse impacts. Right now, Idahoans have an opportunity to take actions that will not only help prevent these impacts from worsening in the future, but will also benefit the health, well-being and economic vitality of Idaho today.

Scaling Climate Solutions

The Nature Conservancy’s Climate Action initiative works to make climate solutions a reality. Our strategy in Idaho focuses on building a powerful, non-partisan narrative on climate change that activates political support and results in on-the-ground solutions at scale. TNC is directly engaging policymakers, businesses and communities with a solutions-based dialogue that empowers climate leaders to act. We’re also implementing natural climate solutions, like regenerative agriculture and forest restoration, that help address the impacts of climate change.

Quote: Jillian Hanson

Together, Idahoans can transform our state and create a climate-resilient future for all of us.

TNC Idaho climate program manager

Investing in a Resilient Future

The University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research, with support from TNC and others, released a non-partisan, science-based statewide assessment of economic risks and opportunities linked to a changing climate. Researchers from all of Idaho’s major colleges and universities, with participation from nonprofits, businesses and Tribal and other governments, connected the latest science on Idaho’s changing climate to impacts on the state’s major economic sectors: agriculture, recreation and tourism, energy, human health, infrastructure and land.

The findings are clear: Idaho’s economy depends on Idaho’s climate. With sector-specific information and resources, the Idaho Climate-Economy Impacts Assessment will help business leaders and policymakers plan a productive and resilient Idaho economy.

It is also important to engage diverse communities in conversations about climate impacts to help ensure inclusive solutions. TNC supported the Spanish translation of the assessment's key findings to help expand access of the research among Idaho's Spanish-speaking communities. 

Graphic indicating that 69% of Idaho voters think climate change is happening.
Climate Change is Happening A strong majority of Idaho voters think climate change is happening, including a majority of Republicans, Independents and Democrats.

Idahoans Care About Climate

In 2020, TNC commissioned a survey of registered voters to gauge Idahoans’ thinking about climate change and possible solutions in our state. According to the poll, nearly two-thirds think climate change will harm future generations but agree climate change can be solved if everyone works together. There is also strong support for conservation-focused policies across the state, such as conserving forests and wetlands that naturally remove pollutants from the air. 

Our latest public opinion survey in 2021 asked North Idaho voters what they think about forests and climate change. The results indicate that there is bipartisan support for efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change and actively manage forests as a climate solution. In fact, 87% of North Idaho voters support the increased use of prescribed fire as a solution to catastrophic wildfires. By bringing important data like this to policymakers and decision-makers while also implementing on-the-ground solutions, like prescribed fire and forest restoration practices, TNC is advancing climate action in our state.

We Can Achieve a Clean Energy Future

Idaho stands on the cusp of a clean energy future that could benefit all Idahoans. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Idahoans are already seeing the benefits of clean energy in their communities.

With more energy projects on the horizon, TNC has a unique opportunity to use our conservation expertise to influence smart renewable energy policies and infrastructure. There is a need to thoughtfully develop energy projects to ensure positive outcomes for people and nature while making ambitious climate progress. Teams at TNC’s local and regional levels are developing strategies to meet these goals and accelerate affordable and abundant clean energy in the West.

Natural Climate Solutions

Natural climate solutions harness the tremendous capacity of natural landscapes to store and reduce carbon emissions, which benefits people and nature.  Studies point to forests and farmlands in Idaho as areas with significant potential for greenhouse gas reductions through natural climate solutions.

Planting Climate Solutions

TNC is proud to be a lead partner in the City of Trees Challenge in the effort to plant 235,000 seedlings in forests around Idaho. Since 2021, TNC has helped successfully plant 149,000 ponderosa pine seedlings to rehabilitate an area of Boise National Forest that was damaged by the 2016 Pioneer Fire. Sustainably planting trees and restoring forests, especially after wildfires, is a natural climate solution that benefits forests and communities for generations. This effort—part of a 10-year initiative with the City of Boise—was supported by funding from the Arbor Day Foundation and a private donor.

Quote: Pat Purdy

I think climate change is just a reality, and that's something we need to be prepared to deal with, particularly in agriculture.

Wood River Valley farmer

Growing a Healthier Future

Regenerative agriculture is a powerful tool for reducing climate impacts. Through the Healthy Soil, Resilient Waters program, TNC is working directly with Idaho farmers to implement regenerative farming practices, such as no-till and cover crops, that build soil health and enhance water supply and quality. These practices not only benefit the environment, but they also support the economic interests of Idaho’s large farming community whose livelihoods depend on healthy lands and freshwater.

Two pronghorn antelope grazing in a grassy field with trees in the distance.
Pronghorn in Stanley Basin Two pronghorn passing through the Stanley Basin © Steve Dondero

Protecting Resilient and Connected Landscapes

Idaho is home to wide-ranging species that need large, connected natural areas. Idaho’s changing climate threatens their future due to impacts on their habitat and studies show that wildlife is moving 11 miles north and 36 feet in elevation each decade to cope with these changes. To help wildlife, TNC is using another nature-based solution, climate resilience science, to identify and conserve the places that are more likely to sustain plants and animals even as the climate changes.