MT Climate Plan Aims for Carbon Neutrality by 2050
Friday, September 18, 2020
MISSOULA, Mont. -- As wildfires rage across the West, a new report from the Montana Climate Solutions Council calls for a complete reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 2050.
To reach this goal, the council recommends beefing up low-emission car standards and shifting away from a coal economy, according to Amy Cilimburg - executive director of Climate Smart Missoula - who served on the council.
She said Montana also needs to take action quickly to ease the state's hotter temperatures and wildfires spurred on by a warming climate.
"What this plan offers is an opportunity for all of us to dig in and get involved in climate solutions," said Cilimburg. "For it to be effective, we need leadership, we need funding and we'll need policies. You know, not acting on climate change is going to cost us a whole heck of a lot more than actually addressing it."
Representatives of Montana's Chamber of Commerce and oil and electric companies have voiced opposition to the plan's major goals. They said changes need to be economically sound and don't believe the state should turn completely away from fossil-fuel use.
Cilimburg said the report has suggestions for climate policies for the next 30 years. They include forming a Resilience AmeriCorps program to give Montana communities support for climate-change mitigation projects.
She pointed out that adopting these kinds of programs could change with the upcoming election.
"We'll have a new state administration, a new governor," said Cilimburg. "We will have a new legislature and Public Service Commission. But the makeup of those three bodies will be very important to moving these policies forward."
Studies show that Montana has already warmed by about three degrees since 1950. A warmer climate is expected to cause less snowpack in the coming decades, with early thaws that lead to flooding.
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