Utah Climate Action Network plans as Utah warms at twice global rate

Utah warming at twice global rate, new climate coalition forming to stop it

(KUTV) Utah is warming at twice the global rate, and a new climate coalition is forming to stop it.

More than 20 private and public entities are joining the climate change fight with the recently formed Utah Climate Action Network that aims to get cities and businesses working to address the problem individually.

Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski spoke at a press conference Wednesday and said, "everything we do matters." She joined with leaders from the University of Utah- and Alta Resort, the Salt Lake County Health Department and others in the effort to fight global warming on a state level.

"The three warmest years for Salt Lake City in my life" said Biskupski "have all occurred since 2012."

The concept of the network started last year. This year it will work to identify priorities and move to action plans in the future.

"As one of the 10 sunniest states in the country, we can capitalize on our solar resources and forge a new energy economy."

Biskupski noted that Salt Lake City, before her tenure, made changes towards a cleaner energy future with three times the solar power it once had -- added in just the last three years.

Those already involved in the fight to clean up Utah's air and slow global warming admit they may have to change a few minds as they get state residents on board.

"Really framing the climate conversation in a way that will resonate with people in the state, in terms of Utah values in terms of conservative values and having a dialogue that is productive."

Alta ski resort general manager Onno Wieringa says he hopes to do that in a way that does not cause fear and instead educates and leads.

Wieringa is involved because his business needs snow to stay afloat, he also knows his resorts snowpack is the State's water reserve.

Tyler Poulson, Sustainability Manager for Salt Lake City, said, "We have seen more rain falling instead of snow, we have seen more rapid depletion of snowpack.

He says the snowpack is Utah's virtual reservoir and must be protected through "changes in the way we live our daily lives."

"If the temperature is rising, we need to reduce carbon pollution, how do we go about that?"

That question is what this Utah Climate Action Network will work to answer. People they say are already making small changes like riding Trax, buying electric cars and switching to solar power.

To learn more about the effort visit UtahClimateActionNetwork.com

Follow Heidi Hatch on Twitter @tvheidihatch for breaking news, updates and more.


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