The city of Hailey is poised to regain its leadership role in the valley’s efforts to fight climate change, reduce energy and conserve water.
Rebecca Bundy, the city’s new resiliency coordinator, presented sustainability goals Monday in response to a recent report by the International Panel on Climate Change that indicates dire consequences if the atmosphere continues to absorb greenhouse gases.
“There could be 200 million more [international] migrants as a result, which would dwarf anything we have today,” Bundy said.
Bundy will oversee the newly formed Hailey Climate Action Now committee, reporting its progress on local initiatives to the City Council on a regular basis.
The goals include assisting the city to lead by example in the areas of energy, water and waste conservation to “set a replicable standard for the citizens to emulate,” while building on “resiliency actions” already accomplished by the city.
Hailey was the first city in the Wood River Valley to provide curbside recycling in 1996 and the first to join the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement in 2007. Water metering implemented in 2004 led to a 25 percent reduction in water consumption.
In 2008, the city adopted several green building codes and project incentives and a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions emitted by city buildings and infrastructure by 15 percent by 2015. It exceeded that goal by 33 percent.
Bundy said the committee will reinitiate benchmarking processes to establish current energy consumption and other measures of resiliency, and develop a strategic plan for realistic and effective actions. She said actions could include the use of free energy audits, grant-funded initiatives and energy system rebates.
Bundy said the city’s efforts could parallel efforts by Idaho Power to “decarbonize” its energy supply system by 2045 by turning away from fossil fuels to wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy.
Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said climate change is “very real” and he expects the committee to focus on “deliverables” to the city, including an “educational component.”
Community Development Direc-
tor Lisa Horowitz advised adding a liaison member from the Tree Committee.
“Because the tree canopy in the city is so much a part of resiliency,” Horowitz said.