Boise officials want the city to be carbon-neutral by 2050. They’re already taking steps.

Boise's plans for climate are underway
Posted at 4:53 PM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 20:28:05-04

BOISE — City of Boise officials are taking climate action.

One goal, to get the entire community to carbon neutrality by 2050, is stamped on a banner on the side of City Hall downtown and serves as a reminder to all who pass by.

“Boiseans have made so clear that climate action and climate leadership is important," Boise Mayor Lauren McLean told Idaho News 6.

By the time the mid-century point hits, Boise is expected to experience an increase of 50 “heat extreme” days each summer (days above 91 degrees) and moderate drought will occur twice as frequently. These impacts are pulled from a 2016 climate assessment that helped the city understand more about the climate impacts that could occur locally. A quick fact sheet can be found here.

Before that point of mid-century, this government entity is taking a relatively smaller bite: by 2035 the municipality aims to operate at a carbon-neutral level. That "Climate Action" plan, announced last year, is now underway.

Related: Boise Airport approved for nearly $1 million in funding to move toward carbon-neutral goal

Climate Action Manager Steve Hubble said the plan is broken down into smaller chunks.

"Sometimes climate change seems really overwhelming, but when you boil it down to those simple actions that can be taken it makes it a little more manageable," Hubble said.

Boiling it down in this case means managing greenhouse gas emissions, which reduces again down to energy use.

“We're looking at energy use in buildings and making the energy that's generated to support our homes and businesses more renewable. We're also looking at energy efficiency, so using power more wisely and reducing use where we can," Hubble said.

Related: Warming environmental conditions to continue

The mayor announced additional climate action steps in the form of infrastructure investments at the State of the City in May.

This year, the Mayor announced infrastructure investments to the tune of a proposed $10 million dollars to move towards the City's climate goals. Those funds would go towards improving Boise's geothermal heating system and electrifying city buildings.

“When you're thinking about how to protect health as climate changes, how to create solutions to hotter days, and more unpredictable weather, and ensure that we have access to water, you know, it's the need for Boise, for our city, to innovate," McLean told Idaho News 6.

Meanwhile, impacts of climatic changes will be felt locally sooner than 2035 and definitely before 2050.

Currently, the Treasure Valley is preparing for one of the first heatwaves of the summer with consistent days near 100 degrees expected next week.

That means soils will dry up more rapidly, fire danger will rise, and air conditioning bills will go up — just a few things that happen when temperatures rise.