It’s one small step for— No, actually it’s a really big leap for Salt Lake City into renewable energy.
On July 13, Salt Lake City government officials announced their commitment to use 100 percent clean energy by 2032 and to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2040. The initiative, Climate Positive 2040, was created by a Joint Resolution signed by Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the Salt Lake City Council on July 12th.
The mayor, in her January State of the City Address, had previously pledged for government operations to use 100 percent clean energy and for significant reductions in emissions from city operations. Climate Positive 2040 increases the scope of the mayor’s original plan, pulling the rest of the Salt Lake City community into this pledge.
In a press release, Mayor Biskupski said, “This is the most ambitious step ever taken by Salt Lake City to address the threat of climate change. This commitment places the city among leading communities worldwide that acknowledge our responsibility to rapidly reduce emissions and forge a new path forward that protects our economies, societies and overall human well-being.”
In the Joint Resolution, the mayor and City Council point to the scientific consensus that temperatures are rising globally, and carbon pollution is a root cause. It mentions the effect increased temperatures are having on the Salt Lake City community, including reduced snow pack, changes in water systems and more extreme weather.
On the Climate Positive webpage, the city describes the current and future programs put in place to help reach their energy goals, including a renewable energy study, a solar power program for homeowners and businesses, electric vehicle charging, bike-sharing programs, public transportation discounts and a partnership with community groups.
The initiative is a strong move on the part of the mayor’s office and certainly an impressive goal, but one government officials insist is necessary for the future of their community.
“The goals in our resolution may seem aggressive," said Erin Mendenhall, the Salt Lake City Council Member who sponsored the Joint Resolution. "To that I say, they are realistic if we want to actually change the air we breathe. This has been a long time council priority we have supported for years through budget priorities, ordinances and resolutions, helping lay the foundation for the city to take the leap.”
More information about Climate Positive 2040 is available at www.slcgreen.com/climatepositive.