Park City mayor signs climate letter to Donald Trump
He urges president-elect to adopt a wide-ranging green program
January 3, 2017
Jack Thomas, the mayor of Park City, is a signatory to a letter to President-elect Donald Trump centered on climate change, an overriding issue at City Hall and one that is expected to be hotly contested when the new administration takes office later this month.
Thomas signed the letter as a part of his involvement in a group known as the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda. The mayor's name is alongside a broad list of city leaders from across the U.S., including some of the largest American cities like New York City and Chicago as well as smaller ones long known for environmental programs like Boulder, Colo., and Burlington, Vt. Aspen, Colo., is the only other mountain resort with a mayor who signed the letter. Salt Lake City is the only other city in Utah listed as a signatory.
The two-page letter to Trump outlines the projected impact of a warming planet. It lists extreme weather, air pollution and erosion on the coasts, as examples. The letter also says a warming climate would harm the country's economy.
"The cost of prevention pales in comparison to cost of inaction, in terms of dollars, property and human life. As our incoming President, as a businessman, and as a parent, we believe we can find common ground when it comes to addressing an issue not rooted in politics or philosophy, but in science and hard economic data," the letter says.
It describes that voters across the country on Election Day passed ballot measures topping $200 billion to pay for quality-of-life improvements and to cut air pollution from carbon sources. The letter calls on Trump to "expand and accelerate" the local ballot measures. It wants Washington to assist in leveraging the funds.
The letter asks that Trump "lead us in expanding the renewable energy sources we need to achieve energy security, address climate change and spark a new manufacturing, energy and construction boom in America." It also asks Trump to continue tax credits for environmental purposes and that he "shift to embrace" a climate accord reached in Paris.
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"While we are prepared to forge ahead even in the absence of federal support, we know that if we stand united on this issue, we can make change that will resonate for generations. We have no choice and no room to doubt our resolve. The time for bold leadership and action is now," the letter says.
The mayor put his signature on the letter to the president-elect at a time when City Hall is pressing forward with an ambitious, wide-ranging environmental program. Park City leaders have crafted a 'net-zero' carbon emissions goal for municipal functions by 2022 and citywide by 2032. A net-zero program typically involves reducing the use of energies that create emissions and pursuing offsets of some sort for emissions that remain. It does not call for the elimination of emissions. Officials are worried that a warming climate could someday threaten the ski industry that drives the Park City economy.
In an interview. Thomas said he is unsure what sort of response the letter will receive from the president-elect. Thomas also said Park City is part of a broad movement to combat a changing climate. The "small parts start to add up," Thomas said about the smaller communities that signed the letter. Thomas said Park City is already addressing issues outlined in the letter, a reference to the comment regarding forging ahead without the assistance of the federal government.
"My vision of that is exactly what this community is doing. This community has taken a stance," Thomas said.
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