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Salt Lake City publishes plan to combat climate change, carbon pollution

Salt Lake City publishes plan to combat climate change, carbon pollution (File photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — The Salt Lake City Council and Mayor Jackie Biskupski have jointly published a plan to tackle climate change and carbon pollution after both made a promise last year to hit sustainability benchmarks by 2040.

In its plan, titled "Climate Positive 2040," the city promises to utilize 100 percent renewable energy sources to fuel electricity by 2032 and create an 80 percent reduction in energy and transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. The City also aims to reduce the community footprint by at least 50 percent before 2030.

“Salt Lake City is committed to lead on climate change and act in ways that bolster the long-term vitality of our community and the health of our planet,” said Mayor Biskupski in an April 11 press release for the project. “Investing in renewable energy, clean transportation systems, and sustainable food programs not only reduces carbon pollution, it also builds an identity for our City and hope for the future.”

Climate Positive 2040 is broken into nine different sections: renewable energy, clean transportation, highly efficient buildings, air quality, sustainable food, zero waste community, collaborative solutions, city operations and resilient city.

In each section, the plan outlines how the City plans to address numerous issues that stand in the way of the goals set on Nov. 1, 2016. Though not each section specifies how exactly it will implement such ideas, most circulate around community collaboration and joint partnerships with local businesses.

Renewable energy

The City plans to work with local companies, like Rocky Mountain Power, and other counties, like Summit and Park City counties, to create plans and studies on renewable energy within the city. It will also encourage residents to switch to solar power if possible.

Clean transportation

The City plans to tackle transportation pollution by encouraging public transportation with discounted memberships, facilitating bicycles and pedestrians, utilizing electric vehicles and reducing air travel emissions.

Highly efficient buildings

By working with Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Gas, the City plans to build more energy efficient buildings and help transition older buildings to more sustainable models. It will also work to adjust building and construction codes.

Air quality

The City plans to support pollution reduction legislation and create energy benchmarks to work on inversion and other air quality issues.

Sustainable food

Along with forming a task force, the City will work to improve access to low-carbon and diverse foods, as well as reduce food waste.

Zero waste community

The City plans to first engage residents in waste reduction, improve local recycling capabilities and develop a waste management system.

Collaborative solutions

The City will work with climate change awareness groups that are already working within the community, like the Utah Climate Action Network, Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Western Adaptation Alliance.

City operations

The City intends to "lead by example" by lowering energy consumption within city departments, following Net Zero Energy standards with construction, create renewable energy generators, develop its electric vehicle fleet.

Resilient city

The City will work to create climate response plans, enable climate leaders within the community, work with each city sector to create individualized plans and coordinate with the Utah Climate Action Network.

The plan also asks residents to try and implement the following habits into their daily lives:

Commit to solar.

"Electricity emissions are the largest part of our community carbon footprint," the plan reads. "Install solar panels on your home or business, or enroll in the Rocky Mountain Power Subscriber Solar program."

Adjust your thermostat.

"Every degree saves 3% on cooling and heating costs," the plan reads. "By setting your thermostat to 60 at night in the winter and 78 when you’re away in the summer, you can reduce your annual footprint by 1,800 pounds of CO2."

Reduce your meat consumption.

"Choose foods that are less carbon and water intensive, such as fruits, vegetables and grains," the plan reads. "Going vegetarian once a week will reduce your household footprint by 700 pounds of CO2 annually."

Ride with Hive.

"This program makes transit more affordable and accessible," the plan reads. "The Hive Pass offers a 50 percent discount to Salt Lake City residents and covers use on regular buses, TRAX, and the S-Line Streetcar."

For more information on Climate Positive, visit SLCGreen.com/ClimatePositive.

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