Montana is Extremely Vulnerable to Climate Change:
Montana and the rest of the Northern Great Plains currently experience an average of 159 days a year with temperatures below freezing. This number could drop to an average of just 79 days per year by 2100 as a result of global climate change, which could greatly impact agriculture and energy use.
The majority of land, 80 percent, in the Great Plains is devoted to agriculture, producing $92 billion in products each year. This industry is expected to be heavily impacted by global warming, which could lead to lower crop yields and less economic productivity.
Montana recorded its all time wettest spring in 2014, which saw massive flooding and economic damage. The number of extreme weather events, including record rainfall and flooding in the Northern Great Plains, and prolonged drought and heatwaves in the south, are expected to both increase and become more severe as a result of global climate change.
The Montana hunting industry is already being affected by climate change, as elk and other wildlife are able to exist in areas and at elevations that would have previously been uninhabitable before the climate started warming. Climate change is also affecting local animal migrations, which can have a domino-like effect on local ecosystems.
Montana Clean Energy Efforts and Opinions:
The majority of adults in Montana, 60 percent, believe that climate change is occurring, but only 46 percent believe humans are causing it. 78 percent support funding research into renewable energy resources, and 72 percent support regulating CO2 as a pollutant.
The Clean Power Plan would require Montana to reduce its carbon emissions by 47.4 percent in the power sector by 2030. Montana governor Steve Bullock (D) has suspended all CPP compliance based meetings and is party to the lawsuit against the EPA that challenges the emissions rule.
Montana sources a vast majority of its electricity from coal and hydroelectric power, but generated 6.5 percent of its power from wind power in 2014.
Montana ranks 39th in the nation for installed solar capacity with 4.5 MW as of 2015.