Park City considers accelerated timeline for green goals | ParkRecord.com

Park City considers accelerated timeline for green goals

The Electric Xpress bus route uses environmentally friendly vehicles as part of Park City’s ambitious goals to reduce emissions. Leaders may consider an accelerated timeline for City Hall’s environmental efforts.

Park City officials on Tuesday signaled they may consider an accelerated timeline for City Hall's ambitious energy goals, a move that would apparently be triggered by a recent United Nations report that detailed what it determined to be the quickening pace of climate change.

Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council addressed the issue briefly on Tuesday. The elected officials were not scheduled to discuss the topic and indicated they want a formal talk shortly. The mayor mentioned the United Nations report in his comments.

City Hall sees itself as having some of North America's most ambitious goals toward combating climate change. A key goal involves reaching net-zero carbon emissions for municipal operations by 2022 and reaching that level citywide by 2032. The net-zero goal does not require the elimination of emissions. City Hall instead would reduce emissions through a variety of measures and offset those that remain through a basket of options, such as through a sequestration program.

City Hall, meanwhile, also has a goal of running municipal operations on electricity generated through renewable sources by 2022 and hitting that mark citywide in 2032.

Beerman on Tuesday appeared more interested in an accelerated timeline for the citywide goals of 2032. He said Park City could provide an example for other communities pursuing environmental goals.

The City Councilors did not respond in any depth. The elected officials typically do not hold an extensive discussion about topics that are not scheduled to be addressed formally. City Hall staffers indicated a formal discussion about an accelerated timeline could be held as early as Nov. 15.

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Various Park City administrations have pressed the related issues of environmentalism and sustainability, but the leadership of today has prioritized the importance of the issue.

Leaders say a changing climate could someday threaten the ski industry that drives the Park City-area economy. There is a fear that a warming planet could lead to diminished snowpack and wintertime rain rather than snow at Park City's lower elevations.

There is a worry that a changing climate could lead to disastrous wildfire seasons in the region as well.

City Hall over time has pursued a wide range of environmentally friendly programs, policies and projects. Some examples include using energy-efficient technologies in municipal buildings and operating buses that run on cleaner-burning energies.