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Posts tagged ‘climate change impacts’

Utah Climate Week is Coming Up!

by Emily Seang, SLCgreen intern

utah climate week

Source: Utah Climate Action Network

October is the month for falling leaves, cooler breezes and– now in its second year– Utah Climate Week!

Why Climate Week?

According to the latest National Climate Assessment, global temperatures will rise by some amount this century. The extent of the increase, however, will depend on how aggressively global society can rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

This change in the climate is already contributing to existing extreme weather patterns all over the world.

This is the case in Utah too. In 2018 alone, Utah has felt the effects of climate change on many fronts, including low water levels, an explosion of algal bloomspoor air quality, extreme heat, and frequent wildfires. These repercussions take a toll on our health, as well as our summer and winter outdoor recreation past-times and economic drivers.

Record 50 degree nights 2018

The National Weather Service tweeted a record 131 days in 2018 that temperatures in the Salt Lake City area did not dip below 50 degrees F.

Climate change is clearly a concern to our public safety, natural resources, and economic development. But we can all play a role in amplifying the message that it’s time to take action.  We can also look at our daily routines and make small changes that add up to meaningful emissions reductions.

These are the goals behind the Second Annual Utah Climate Week.

Utah Climate Week is hosted by the Utah Climate Action Network, a partnership that aims to reduce emissions, enhance resiliency, and engage individuals and local leaders within our state.

Utah is one of only a few other communities to host a climate week, joining the likes of New York City and LondonRead more

Sixteen Local Governments in Utah Call for Climate Cooperation

One of SLCgreen’s goals is to inspire action locally and nationally around climate change. Mayor Biskupski is a leader of several national coalitions to do exactly this– including the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy and the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Alliance for a Sustainable Future committee– and we’re privileged to support her work at that level.

It’s also critical to organize locally and we’ve put together workshops and meetings with fellow local governments to discuss how Utah can be a leader on climate and air quality.

PSB solar

Solar panels and the Wasatch Mountains. Shot on the roof of Salt Lake City’s Public Safety Building.

This week we’re excited to share that the Deseret News published an op-ed that demonstrates this cooperation and commitment in Utah to #ActOnClimate.

Sixteen local governments from Salt Lake City to Provo, Moab to Park City, Cottonwood Heights to Heber, and more joined us in calling for increased cooperation to mitigate climate disruption. Read more

Be Prepared for Climate Emergencies, Joint Op-Ed from SLC’s Sustainability & Emergency Management Directors

Salt Lake City's Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett and Emergency Management Director Cory Lyman pen a joint op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune on climate change and emergency preparedness.

With all of the storms, hurricanes, and wildfires hitting our country this fall, we need to take the opportunity of September being Emergency Preparedness Month to prepare for and mitigate climate change.

Read the op-ed published in The Salt Lake Tribune from Salt Lake City’s directors of Sustainability and Emergency Preparedness.


By Vicki Bennett and Cory Lyman

September is Emergency Preparedness Month.

While Utahns traditionally take important measures to prepare for sudden natural disasters such as earthquakes, we also need to think about taking mitigating action for climate-related events such as extreme flooding, changing water supplies, wildfire and heat waves.

This need is amplified by the awful pictures we see of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and the destruction they have wrought. In Texas alone initial estimates are putting the damage at over $180 billion – that is billion, with a “b” – and we can’t start to comprehend numbers like that.

Scientists have been warning us for years that a warming climate increases the strength of storms like these — larger, powerful and devastating to our communities.

One month before Harvey hit, Salt Lake City experienced our own 200-year storm. .

CONTINUE ON THE TRIBUNE’S SITE.

Mayor Becker Wins Climate Protection Award

MayorBeckerSalt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy have been selected as the nation’s top winners in the 2013 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards, an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Walmart.

The annual awards program, now in its seventh year, recognizes mayors for innovative practices that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of applicants.

“Mayor Becker and Mayor Bellamy are great examples of the strong leadership at the local level working on climate protection,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “As others debate these issues, mayors are acting on real climate solutions, showing how to curb both energy use and climate-harming emissions.”

“We are proud to honor these cities and their mayors, who remind all of us how their leadership is making a real difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of life in their communities,” said Greg Hall, Walmart’s Vice President of U.S. Sourcing and Manufacturing. “At the end of the day, these local efforts reduce our energy dependence and save money, results that help strengthen the U.S. economy.”

“In Salt Lake City, we are committed to doing what we can right now to address the climate change impacts that are already being felt at a local level and will only become more challenging,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. “Setting goals for ourselves like constructing net-zero public facilities is one of the many things we can do as a community to mitigate and adapt to changes in our climate, helping to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for our City.”

“The City of Asheville is honored to receive this award,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy. “By reinvesting our energy savings through our Green Capital Improvement Program, we are reducing air pollution in our region, making neighborhoods safer by installing high quality LED lights, and demonstrating fiscal responsibility by recycling tax dollars.”

“Mayors are leading the way on climate protection just like so many other issues before the nation,” said Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “In their cities, we can see the innovation and imagination that leads to new strategies to combat the growing energy and climate challenges before us.”

First Place Winners

·       Salt Lake City, UT Mayor Ralph Becker for the Net Zero Public Safety Building and Salt Lake Community Solar (Large City Category – population over 100,000)

The Salt Lake City Public Safety Building will be the first public safety building in the nation to achieve a Net Zero rating. To reach this lofty goal and ensure the building produces as much energy as it uses, the city employed a host of innovative technologies including rooftop solar and an off-site solar farm, planned LEED Platinum certification, locally-sourced and environmentally-sound materials and high efficiency mechanical systems. Its Salt Lake Community Solar (SLCS), a unique, market-driven approach to reducing the cost of solar energy using innovation and ingenuity to tackle the logistical and financial barriers of going solar, helps businesses and homeowners purchase and install solar energy systems.

·       Asheville, NC Mayor Terry Bellamy for the Green Capital Improvement Program (Small City Category – population under 100,000)

The City of Asheville established a goal to cut carbon emissions in its municipal activities by 80 percent by 2030. In the five years following the adoption of this target, the city has achieved a 17.67% reduction in emissions, and it has also established a self-sustaining funding source that recycles energy savings to invest in additional sustainability programs. More recently, these energy savings and dollars are directed into the Green Capital Improvement Program (Green CIP) which funds the city ongoing initiatives to make further progress on its 80 percent reduction goal. During the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Asheville creatively reinvested energy savings to invest in improved greener services for its citizens.

In addition to the first place winners, Honorable Mentions were awarded to mayors in four large cities and six small cities for their exceptional achievements in efforts to promote climate protection:

Large City Honorable Mentions: Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic, Akron, OH, Mayor Gregory A. Ballard, Indianapolis, IN, Mayor Thomas Barrett, Milwaukee, WI, and Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Washington, DC

Small City Honorable Mentions: Mayor Kathleen J. DeRosa, Cathedral City, CA;  Mayor Roy D. Buol, Dubuque, IA, Mayor Nancy R. Rotering, Highland Park, IL, Mayor Jerry Willey, Hillsboro, OR, J. Richard Gray, Lancaster, PA, and Mayor Chris Koos, Normal, IL.

Read the report (PDF):

0613-report-climateprotectionbp-1