Park City delegation heads to Denver for Al Gore-led conference
Officials will immerse themselves in discussions about environment
A set of high-level Park City officials traveled to Denver this week for a climate conference organized by a group led by Al Gore, the former vice president and one of the nation’s most prominent environmental activists.
The Park City delegation is participating in the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, a program of the Climate Reality Project. The event opened on Thursday and is scheduled to end on Saturday. Mayor Jack Thomas and three members of the Park City Council – Andy Beerman, Becca Gerber and Nann Worel – are part of the Park City delegation. Park City Manager Diane Foster and two staffers assigned to City Hall’s sustainability programs also traveled to Denver.
The Climate Reality Leadership Corps is designed to cover a broad range of topics related to environmental and sustainability issues, a priority at City Hall. A roster of speakers is scheduled to address topics like energy and land policies in the Western U.S. Gore is scheduled as one of the speakers.
City Hall said there is no charge to attend the conference. The elected officials funded their own trips while City Hall paid for the staffers to travel. The projected cost for the flights and hotels was not immediately available. A Summit County sustainability staffer was scheduled to attend in a nonofficial capacity at their own expense.
The conference materials indicated City Hall’s environmental sustainability manager, Luke Cartin, was scheduled as one of the speakers. He is a pivotal figure in the municipal government’s environmental efforts and has praised Gore before. Another person with Park City ties, Ski Butlers founder and environmental activist Bryn Carey, was also listed as a speaker at the conference.
The materials also outlined that the conference would review actions taken by the administration of President Trump or Congress targeting climate laws or regulations. The conference “will outline how we could respond powerfully and effectively to any such measures and how we can act for maximum impact,” the materials said.
Beerman said on Friday morning the Park City officials were in the audience when Gore addressed the conference. They briefly met the former vice president at a reception as well, he said.
“I think it just reinforces the urgency. We are facing a global crisis,” Beerman said about Gore’s remarks.
The City Hall participation in the Climate Reality Leadership Corps follows in the months after Park City leaders aligned themselves with the Climate Reality Project and a program under its umbrella known as the I Am Pro Snow campaign. The I Am Pro Snow program aims to protect winters from a warming climate. There is concern in Park City that a warming climate could someday threaten the ski industry that drives the local economy.
Park City has pursued an aggressive environmental agenda in recent years, starting in earnest during the administration of former Mayor Dana Williams and continuing under the current mayor. It has centered on clean-burning energies, reducing emissions and a variety of other measures.
Park City leaders have set net-zero carbon emissions goals for municipal functions by 2022 and citywide by 2032. Net zero typically involves reducing the use of energies that create emissions and offsets of some sort for the remaining emissions. It does not call for the elimination of emissions, though. Officials are pursuing a wide range of programs and policies as they attempt to reach the 2022 and 2032 goals.
Gore has longtime ties to Park City and has made several visits to the community since he left office in 2001. He debuted the environmental documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006 and the follow-up documentary, called “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” premiered at Sundance in January.
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