What is the Idaho Climate-Economy Impacts Assessment?

Posted at 10:06 AM, Nov 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-12 12:06:53-05

It might be wintery here in Idaho, but that doesn’t mean we’re not seeing changes in our climate not only here in our state, but all around the world.

This past summer was the third hottest on record in the United States. Here in the Treasure Valley, there were 27 days that pushed above 100 degrees; shattering previous records.

And there’s other risks in a future that continues to have warmer weather - more frequent droughts and wildfires, a diminishing snowpack - to name a few.

Last year, the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research, released the Idaho Climate-Economy Impacts Assessment.

Megan Foster, a program director and research scientist for the McClure Center spoke with Idaho News 6 about the project's goals.

“It really provides a glimpse into you know, what are these risks, what should we be aware of, but also what are these opportunities," Foster said.

“This is for Idahoans.” she continued, “it's not just for, kind of, researchers or those who want those really in-depth reports, although those are available.”

Foster managed 10 teams made up of volunteer contributing experts who looked at how climate change could impact the state’s economic sectors. The work included everything from agriculture, to human health, to recreation and tourism.

The reports were made with accessibility in mind.

“Our big goal was that we would help people be able to make decisions about their economic future," Katherine Himes, McClure Center Director, said.

The project was funded without any federal grant money - crowd funded, according to Himes, with sponsors like D.L. Evans and Micron.

What the report doesn't include? Any policy instruction.

“We're independent, we're neutral, we're nonpartisan, we're evidence-based and so we want to steer away from making a recommendation," Himes explained.

“Regardless of if they're a business owner, or not a business owner, a government leader or community member, if they're young, if they're older, that they have this information in hand and they can learn about what are these changes in Idaho, and how we can have a really strong vibrant future," she continued.

An "Idaho at a Glance” report summarizing all the findings will be available later this month.