For Immediate Release
SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 14, 2017 – Prominent Utah leaders from business, government, higher education, faith communities and civic organizations united on Nov. 14, 2017 to sign a declaration acknowledging shared responsibility for protecting Utah’s economy, air quality and environment, and safeguarding against the risks of climate change. The gathering kicked off Path to Positive Utah, a collaborative initiative sponsored by Utah Clean Energy and ecoAmerica, that represents a diverse group of leaders seeking to understand, prepare for and raise awareness about climate change risks and solutions.
Local notables who signed the declaration include Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson, Goldman Sachs Vice President Dean Soukup, Episcopal Diocese of Utah Bishop Scott Hayashi, former Director of the Department of Environmental Quality Amanda Smith, past chair of the Utah Public Service Commission Ted Boyer, and Gardner Company president and CEO Christian Gardner, to name a few.
Forty leaders have already signed the declaration, which is open to all Utah leaders interested in harnessing their leadership to advance conversations about and solutions to climate change. Path to Positive Utah will empower leaders through educational materials, trainings and seminars, and will help share participating organizations’ successes.
“Utah is a pioneering state, and in that innovative spirit, we hope to inspire and support communities to forge a new path toward positive climate change outcomes,” said Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy. “I am proud to stand with this group of Path to Positive Utah leaders and to demonstrate Utah’s leadership and ability to work together to address tough challenges, including climate change.”
Utahns are seeing the impacts of climate change now. The recent and unprecedented series of extreme weather events on American soil and around the globe have taken many lives, dramatically disrupted millions more and generated hundreds of billions of dollars in devastating property damage. A recent Dan Jones poll commissioned by the Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics found that 64 percent of Utahns recognize that human activity is exacerbating climate change.
“The latest draft of the U.S. National Climate Assessment confirmed the long-standing consensus on climate change: it is ‘extremely likely’ that human activities have driven the majority of warming in recent decades,” stated Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “While this knowledge can be sobering in light of severe disruptions from recent hurricanes and wildfires, it can also motivate an inspired response to reduce carbon emissions in Utah, where we are warming at twice the global average.”
Wright said there are many affordable, proven strategies that businesses, government and individuals can put into place that will reduce carbon emissions, improve Utah’s air quality and deliver the long-term benefit of a stable climate. Advancing clean energy and energy efficiency measures in homes and businesses can make a significant difference in the short term, and over time.
“Utah is a hub for innovation in clean energy and energy efficient buildings,” said Christian Gardner, president and CEO of the Gardner Company. “As a developer, I know that advancing solutions to climate change and air quality will help bring new business opportunities and talent to our state.”
"Climate change is an important issue for our state’s economy and quality of life. It's time to talk about it now, as businesses, policy makers and residents plan for our future,” concluded Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank.
Business and community leaders interested in participating in Path to Positive Utah may visit https://pathtopositiveutah.org/ for more information.
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About Utah Clean Energy
Utah Clean Energy is Utah’s leading, expert, public interest organization working to expand renewable energy, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency in a way that is beneficial not only for Utah’s environment and health, but our economy and long-term energy security. Utah Clean Energy is committed to creating a future that ensures healthy, thriving communities for all, empowered and sustained by clean energy resources such as solar, wind and energy efficiency. www.utahcleanenergy.org.
ecoAmerica builds institutional leadership, public support, and political will for climate solutions in the United States. We help national mainstream organizations elevate their climate leadership, providing them strategy, tools and resources to: demonstrate visible climate leadership, empower climate literacy, engage all constituents, and build collective action and advocacy. We help our partners permanently transform into national climate leaders who inspire others on solutions and commit to climate neutrality. www.ecoamerica.org.