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.
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.
Climate Solutions Video Series
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
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.
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.
Climate Conversation Video Series
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
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.
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.