According to a public opinion poll conducted by Yale University last year, two thirds of Idahoans believe the climate is changing, but only one third discuss it, even occasionally. To help combat this, Idaho businesses are coming together to host a summit to be held all throughout Idaho entitled Safeguarding Idaho’s Economy in a Changing Climate.
The two day summit will explore economic opportunities presented by climate change as well as ways to combat the effects of increasing water temperature, drought, wildfires and other issues presented by the changing climate.
“Part of the purpose of this summit is to…let people from all areas of our economy realize that not only can we adapt and survive these changes,” said Linda Engle, a professor at ISU, “but we can thrive and prosper if we put our heads together, compare notes and plan ahead.”
Organizers of the summit, which will be held simultaneously in Boise, Moscow, Ashton and Pocatello, include the American Lung Association, the Idaho Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the Nature Conservancy, Idaho Chapter of American Fisheries Society, and the Society of American Foresters. Each venue will feature speakers from local business and community leaders and opportunities for other participants to share their personal stories and ideas.
“We hope that participants will find practical innovative market-based solutions which can be taken back and tested,” Engle said. “We also hope to see the building of new collaborations and commitments as well as ongoing forums.”
The keynote speaker will be Kate Gordon, a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and a Senior Advisor at the Paulson Institute. Her speech, titled From Risk to Return: Challenges and Opportunities for Idaho in Adapting to a Changing Climate, will discuss both the risks and opportunities presented to Idaho’s businesses due to climate change.
Main panel sessions held in every venue will discuss the economic cost of climate change, an overview of risks and impacts, drought and increased water temperature, wildfire, health and quality of life, innovative solutions by industrial leaders and new ventures and economic opportunities. I“The goal of this summit is to jump-start the conversation creating a broad-based forum for exploring our economic challenges, adaptations and opportunities in the light of our changing climate,” Engle said. “This is about learning what and where effects are occurring and understanding how Idahoans are building resilience to these changes through problem-solving.”
This is the first time a summit like this has been held in Idaho, however Engle said there is hope that it will become an annual event.
“We look forward to hearing stories of what worked and what did not, next year,” she said.
The summit will be held Nov. 16 and 17 in the Pond Student Union Building and participants can register at www.idahoclimatesummit.com.