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‘It’s a people issue’: Boise adopts climate action plan, carbon neutrality goal

Boise City Council is all aboard for a new set of sustainability goals.

All six city council members and Mayor Lauren McLean gave a big thumbs up to the city’s new Climate Action Roadmap and a larger goal to have the community hit carbon neutrality by 2050. This is on top of the city’s 2019 aim for the entire City of Trees to be powered by clean energy by 2035.

[City of Trees joins global initiative to plant (even more) trees 🌳]

The roadmap fleshes out the city’s ambitious goals with steps and projects in several focus areas, like transportation, water, and energy with goals in each section. It will evolve over time as technology improves and new possible projects present themselves so the city can meet its ambitious goals.

“All of this isn’t just an environmental or conservation issue: It’s a people issue,” McLean said. “It always has been for me. If we want to thrive in the long term, we have to do everything we can to set ourselves up for success.”

A (detailed) path forward

The climate action road map breaks down priorities for the city into different categories, ranking them from focusing on reducing emissions to increasing the city’s resilience to the impacts of climate change. For example, projects focused on energy are squarely focused on cutting CO2, while initiatives to address water are most important to keep the city functioning as the climate continues to warm.

Each priority area in the road map has targets, opportunities, and ordered priorities for both the near and long term to meet the city’s goals.

For example, in the building and energy section, the city has a target of converting new and existing buildings in Boise to high-efficiency fossil fuel free heating systems by 2050. To achieve this goal, the city hopes to develop a thermal heating plan, develop a process to retrofit government buildings and work with Idaho Power to create all-electric heat pump incentives in the short term.

In the long-term, the city hopes to assist low-income communities in switching to all-electric heat, work with the community to train contractors in all-electric heating system installation and meet with natural gas heat users to see what could convince them to switch.

Hearty support from council

City Council Member TJ Thomson said this plan will help Boise lead the way for sustainability in the Gem State.

“I see this as the capital city of Idaho doing our part to save the planet,” he said. “This is a group effort worldwide, I would hope, and I hope this sets a standard for other cities to follow.”

The details in the plan were a major selling point for City Council Patrick Bageant.

“It is a detailed plan with attainable goals,” he said, about the Climate Action Road Map. “They are attainable, they’re in order, they’re logical and it can be done. It’s not just a declaration of a wishlist. It’s an actual plan we will begin to execute.”

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Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at margaret@boisedev.com or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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