Local group seeking help dealing with climate impacts

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Irving

On Jan. 14, the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, announced it was ending investments in coal-fired power plants and would begin asking clients to disclose their climate-related risks. BlackRock manages about $7 trillion in funds. That’s trillion with a T! It knows the financial risk to its clients from human-driven climate change. As the CEO stated: “Investors are increasingly reckoning with the questions and recognizing that climate risk is investment risk.”

BlackRock doesn’t manage investments involving that kind of money by being either stupid or foolish. Neither do companies like Google or Microsoft. Other financial entities are expressing their concern about climate change as well.

The president of the World Economic Forum just announced that as a result of a survey of more than 750 key decision-makers, global warming (and the extinction of animal species) would be “front and center” at its upcoming meeting.

It’s about time, don’t you think? After an estimated one million animals were killed and 40,000 miles have so far been scorched in Australia’s bush fires, made worse by climate change? We have cause for concern here as well. We’ve all noticed more rain and warmer than usual winter temperatures, compared to the past. And three of the past five months of August obliterated by smoke from wildfires, brought on by warmer and drier conditions made worse by global warming. Never before in the 34 years I’ve lived here have we had that kind of eye-watering, choking smoke (since field burning ended).

What can we do about it? For one thing, support national legislation to put a revenue-neutral price on carbon (sponsored by the Citizens Climate Lobby). More locally, though, how about this? Join others in informing yourself about what to expect in our climate-changed future and develop plans to minimize those effects. It’s called climate adaptation, which is adapting to consequences of climate change and protecting our children, grandchildren, and community from what’s coming. And of course OUR lake too, as Mayor Widmyer called for in his recent State of the City address.

A group of us have started a local adaptation project, with an initial focus on two main threats from global warming: 1) The health of Lake Coeur d’Alene and subsequent economic impacts; 2) Human health, primarily related to temperature extremes and air quality concerns from wildfires. We would like to also consider consequences of global warming on local agriculture, horticulture, urban forestry and farmers markets. However, we need your help and expertise to expand our efforts.

We think these are important issues to investigate and develop resiliency actions to preserve what we love about living here. We are using a process developed, and supported by, the Climate Impacts Research Consortium, based at Oregon State University.

Please come join us. We want to foster a broad perspective of concerns and encourage many community members to participate, including those from the business community, academia, and faith community.

If you’re interested, please contact Bill Irving at billirv2@yahoo.com.

•••

Bill Irving is coordinator of the Coeur d’Alene Community Adaptation Project.

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