Park City climate change activist heads to Paris for U.N. conference
A Park City climate change activist plans to travel to Paris this week to participate in an important United Nations conference addressing the issue, a trip that will provide opportunities for learning and networking as he continues to press for action locally.
Bryn Carey, an Old Town resident and the owner of the ski-delivery service Ski Butlers, is involved with two organizations combating climate change the Protect Our Winters campaign and the Climate Reality Project. He is traveling to Paris with his wife.
Carey in recent months has emerged as one of the key figures in Park City as City Hall, activists and rank-and-file Parkites engage in a discussion about steps the municipal government can take to address climate change.
Carey is scheduled to depart for Paris on Thursday and return on Monday. The United Nations is holding an event called the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, widely referred to as COP 21 since it is in its 21st year.
He intends to spend one day Saturday at the conference itself. He said he will attend a session centered on locally based solutions for climate change. Carey said the event will also offer networking opportunities.
"I want to convey that we need local ski communities to create 100 percent renewable plans," Carey said, referring to cleaner-burning energies known as renewables.
Carey wants Park City to move toward an energy portfolio that includes renewables exclusively, such as solar power and wind power.
Carey on Sunday expects to participate in a separate event scheduled alongside the United Nations gathering called the World Climate Summit. The Climate Reality Project that Carey works with expects to deliver a letter with more than 1,000 signatures to the United Nations, he said.
Carey’s work on climate change in Park City and the trip to Paris come as City Hall has indicated it will address the issue with greater urgency. The Park City Council recently elevated the related topics of reducing carbon emissions and conserving energy to a critical priority, a step that puts the issue at the same level of importance in Park City as housing and transportation.
There appeared to be widespread support for elevating emissions reduction and energy conservation to a critical priority. City Hall for years has seen environmental issues and the broader ideals of sustainability as being imperative for Park City’s future.
"If we can start a trend, if we can get all ski towns to follow Park City’s lead on this, we can change the world," Carey said.
Leaders at City Hall argue that a warming planet could someday threaten a ski industry that is at the core of the Park City economy. There is concern that warming temperatures eventually could shorten the ski season, lead to rain instead of snow at the lower elevations of mountain resorts and increase the likelihood of devastating wildfires.
The municipal government’s efforts have included numerous environmental upgrades in public buildings, acquiring a fleet of vehicles that runs on cleaner-burning fuel and promoting alternative means of transportation like walking, bicycling or riding buses.
Ann Ober, a senior policy analyst at City Hall who is heavily involved in the municipal government’s environmental programs, said officials drafted a one-page document outlining the local efforts to provide to Carey prior to his departure. It is written in English and French, she said. Nobody from the municipal government will travel to Paris for the conference, she said.
"The story of Park City people are paying attention," Carey said about the local efforts toward cleaner-burning energies. "Because this is the end game, the solution."
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The people at the second part of the Park City Future Summit were nearly unanimous in indicating they have some level of concern.