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Utah and Climate Change Series: The Science and Economics of Climate Change

Blog by SLCgreen’s Johanna Stangland

The Science and Economic impact of Climate Change premiered last week as part of the Clark Planetarium and Citizen’s Climate Lobby 2015 series, Utah and Climate Change.

Utah State University physicist, Rob Davies began the program with an informative presentation. He explained warming trends in Utah and showed a particularly sobering graphic simulation forecasting snow pack to the year 2100. Here is what spring snow pack in Utah could look like in the year 2075 if emissions continue at a high rate.  Click here to see the entire simulation from recorded data since 1850 and projected data to 2100.

Snow depth

Additionally he explained that Utah is warming at a higher rate than the global average. Here is a graph from his presentation showing that Salt Lake City is warming at two times the global average! Zion, Hanksville, and Bluff are warming at an even higher rate, 2.7x, 3.4x, and 3.8x the global average, respectively.


Other speakers included Laura Briefer, Water Resource Manager for Salt Lake City; Maura Olivos, Sustainability Coordinator for Alta; and Gabriel Lozada, Economist from University of Utah. They primarily discussed the economic side of climate change in Utah, with Laura focusing on water and the economy, Maura presenting about skiing and the economy, and Gabriel giving an overview of how a carbon tax would work. Following the presentations, the panel answered questions from the audience.

The second free panel presentation and discussion in the series on Utah Media Coverage of Climate Change will take place February 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Clark Planetarium.

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