Record editorial: As threat of climate change looms, Park City cannot do it alone
As City Hall has set ambitious goals to dramatically reduce the community’s carbon footprint, Parkites have watched with pride.
In the face of a warming global climate that threatens, among other things, the future of the ski industry our economy is built on, Park City leaders have wisely recognized that inaction is untenable. But they also know that we cannot do it alone.
That’s what makes the inaugural Mountain Towns 2030 Net Zero Summit so encouraging. The event, scheduled to begin Wednesday and run through Friday, brings leaders from a number of other mountain communities to Park City to discuss ways they, too, can take aggressive action on climate change. The three-day summit includes a compelling schedule of panels and a diverse set of speakers, ranging from ski industry executives to congressmen to nonprofit directors.
Park City is not formally asking other mountain towns to adopt its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, but the conference will lay the foundation for other communities to take steps toward reducing their own carbon footprints. Those who attend should leave energized by the enthusiasm on display during the conference and armed with both the knowledge of how to get the ball rolling in their communities and the support of a network of folks who can assist in the efforts.
The science surrounding climate change is clear, and mountain communities cannot afford to wait any longer to take meaningful action. While a warming planet will usher in catastrophic consequences like drought and natural disasters in developing countries, the effects in resort towns will also be damaging.
For one, scientists warn that the ski industry as we know it may cease to exist in the not-so-distant future as mountain snowfall in the winter turns to rain. That would be crippling in in places where ski resorts power the local economy. Additionally, climate change could make devastating wildfires — the kind that could wipe out dense areas like Summit Park or Old Town — much more common throughout the West.
Of course, just as Park City can’t reverse climate change by itself, the united efforts of mountain communities won’t alone save the day. But at a time when standing idle is no longer a viable option, hopefully those attending this week’s summit depart with the understanding that addressing the problem together gives us the best chance to avoid those unwanted fates.
For more information about the Mountain Towns 2030 Net Zero Summit, visit mt2030.org.
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Our view: In a community with a rich sports scene that includes a history of molding Olympic athletes and hosting world-class winter sports events, it has been fun to watch the enthusiasm for a local prep team build.