Governor Steve Bullock today issued an executive order establishing the Montana Climate Solutions Council, tasking up to thirty Montanans with providing made-in-Montana recommendations and solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare the state for climate impacts, and address the needs of communities in transition through appropriate economic development and workforce strategies.
“Climate change is already impacting our way of life and our economy. How we choose to respond to the changes around us offers a pivotal opportunity to both safeguard our traditional strengths and diversify and grow new opportunities for our future,” said Governor Bullock. “That’s why I’m convening a diverse group of Montanans to develop thoughtful solutions to address climate change for our state.”
“Like all difficult issues we tackle here in Montana, I know we can find a path forward by getting together, rolling up our sleeves, and focusing on the values we share in common. The state needs Montana-focused solutions, now more than ever,” continued Governor Bullock.
Governor Bullock announced the creation of the Council during a Live Town Hall hosted with the Forward Montana Foundation. During the Live Town Hall, young Montanans from across the state engaged with Governor Bullock in a discussion on how climate change is impacting Montana communities.
“After thousands of conversations with our peers, we know young Montanans are facing the economic & ecological impacts of climate change every day,” said Rachel Huff-Doria, Executive Director of the Forward Montana Foundation. “That’s why it’s so exciting to see the Governor not only taking real tangible action on climate change, but also centering the voices & experiences of young Montanans throughout the process.”
“The climate crisis affects everything,” said Avery Old Coyote, a member of the Crow Nation and participant in the town hall.
“I’ve always grown up with climate change looming over me, and in the past couple of years it’s weight has turned crushing. It threatens to greatly expand nearly every problem we are facing, and so it must be dealt with swiftly for the sake of all human and non-human life that graces this planet,” said Valan Anthos, an environmental and climate activist and participant in the town hall.
Governor Bullock also announced that Montana will be joining the U.S. Climate Alliance.
The creation of the Council is a result of discussions with legislators and Montanans from the most recent legislative session on how Montana can create a path forward in setting goals for the state around the issue of climate change.
Governor Bullock tasked the Council with issuing a Montana Climate Solutions Plan by June 1, 2020. Other duties include:
- Make recommendations toward achieving an interim goal of net greenhouse gas neutrality for average annual electric loads in the state by no later than 2035 and a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide at a date to be determined by the Council;
- Coordinate with the Montana University System to identify strategies to build upon the work of the Montana Climate Assessment (MCA) to develop science driven, regionally relevant research on climate impacts facing Montana’s economy, and to identify opportunities for the state to support innovation in climate-smart research and technology development, demonstration, and manufacturing work with the state’s business community; and
- Coordinate with all relevant state agencies to make climate an immediate and actionable priority for the state and incorporate strategies to adapt to climate in agency planning.
Invites have been extended to Montanans of diverse backgrounds to participate in the Council. Council members will be announced in the coming weeks.
The executive order is attached.