Park City excited Al Gore headed back to Sundance | ParkRecord.com

Park City excited Al Gore headed back to Sundance

It is unclear whether City Hall officials will talk to former vice president

Al Gore, the former vice president and environmental activist, is expected to visit Park City in January for the Sundance Film Festival with "An Inconvenient Sequel," a documentary that follows his earlier Sundance entry, "An Inconvenient Truth."

The visit could provide an opportunity for Park City leaders to talk with Gore in the months after City Hall aligned itself with an environmental program under the umbrella of the Gore-founded Climate Reality Project. Sundance is a month away and it is not clear whether anyone from City Hall will have the chance to talk with Gore. It seems, though, there is a possibility given Park City's allegiance with the Climate Reality Project and his planned trip to the city for the world premiere of "An Inconvenient Sequel."

Mayor Jack Thomas on Friday said he is pleased that Gore is scheduled to attend the festival. He said, though, he anticipates Gore will have a busy schedule while he is in Park City. The mayor said he is not sure Gore will have the time for a meeting.

"I would be excited if that happens, of course," Thomas said.

The mayor plans to offer comments prior to one of the opening-day films during Sundance, but he was not sure which one. "An Inconvenient Sequel" is scheduled to be screened on the opening day of the festival, according to Sundance organizers. It will show in a Sundance section dedicated to environmental topics.

Thomas said his comments will address City Hall's environmental goals, one of the overriding issues for the municipal government. 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 an offset of some sort for emissions that remain. It does not call for the elimination of emissions. City Hall intends to reach the goals through a broad set of programs and policies.

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Park City aligned itself with the Climate Reality Project in the fall. Officials supported City Hall's involvement in a Climate Reality Project program known as I Am Pro Snow, which aims to protect winters from a warming climate. Park City leaders worry that a changing climate could someday threaten the ski industry that drives the area's economy. There is concern about a shortened ski season, winter rainfall instead of snowfall and snow levels climbing in elevation from where they are now.

In an intriguing sidebar to the discussions in the fall, though, a City Hall report indicated Gore's presence could be a pro and a con to the municipal government's involvement in the Climate Reality Project. The report described a pro being the ability of City Hall to participate in the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training with Gore. But one of the cons, the report said, was Gore's partisan background as a Democrat. That "could cause perceived tensions with Republican representatives," the report said.

The mayor at the time said Gore's presence is a pro. Thomas said in an interview in October "he's more closely associated with the real science of climate change . . . He's closer to the truth than anyone else."