Missoula climate plan unveiled at City Club

Earth’s climate is heating up — and a new plan aims to get the Missoula area ready.

“In Missoula County, climate change is likely to mean hotter, drier summers, warmer and wetter winters and springs … more summer drought, a longer wildfire season and more wildfire smoke,” said Diana Maneta, energy conservation and sustainability coordinator for Missoula County Community and Planning Services on Monday.

For the last 18 months, Maneta has been bracing for this shift, working with other local leaders to draft the Climate Ready Missoula Plan. She led the effort along with Chase Jones, energy conservation coordinator for the City of Missoula, and Amy Cilimburg and Caroline Lauer, respectively the executive director and program director of Climate Smart Missoula. They worked with a 14-member steering committee and three scientific advisers from the University of Montana.

On Monday, about 200 people attended the monthly City Club Missoula meeting for the unveiling of the plan’s first draft. Much of the discussion around climate policy focuses on adopting renewable energy. But the 88-page Climate Ready Missoula Plan combines this goal with adapting to the changes that human burning of fossil fuels have already unleashed.

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