Salt Lake City–Mayor Jackie Biskupski joins hundreds of leaders and attendees from across the world this week in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) on Thursday and Friday, with partner events kicking off Tuesday and Wednesday.
At a time when the federal government is backtracking on its climate commitments, cities, states, businesses, non-profits, and other stakeholders are stepping in to fill the void.
The Summit is focused on amplifying the commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement, which 195 countries signed in 2015. The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Summit, as described on their website, “is timed to provide the confidence to governments to ‘step up’ and trigger this next level of ambition sooner rather than later.”
In San Francisco, Mayor Biskupski will share the progress and ambitions of Salt Lake City as part of Climate Positive SLC. The plan describes the capital city’s related goals that were adopted in a joint resolution between the Mayor and City Council in 2016.
These goals include:
- Transitioning municipal electricity use to 50% renewable energy by 2020;
- Securing net-100% renewable electricity to power Salt Lake City’s entire community by 2032; and
- Ultimately reducing Salt Lake City’s community carbon footprint 80% by 2040, compared to a 2009 baseline year.
“I’m thrilled to represent Salt Lake City in San Francisco this week,” said Mayor Biskupski. “Our city continues to feel the effects of climate change with ever-increasing temperatures, low snowpack, Stage 1 drought conditions, and the public health consequences from wildfire smoke and ozone pollution. We have no choice but to act on climate. This week we are joining forces with movers-and-shakers from all over the world to set a new course for the future of our planet.”
One of the key ways Salt Lake City is realizing the Climate Positive goals is through a unique partnership with Rocky Mountain Power, which is helping re-power municipal government operations and ultimately the whole community with 100% renewable energy. Work is underway on both of these goals and updates are provided annually in the “Clean Energy Implementation Plan.”
In San Francisco, Mayor Biskupksi will be a featured panelist and speaker at several high-profile events, including the opening on Tuesday of the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Alliance for a Sustainable Future meeting. Mayor Biskupski is currently the Chair of this Alliance.
Wednesday afternoon, she will join a panel, “U.S. Mayors Leading the Way” with mayors from Los Angeles, Seattle, and Pittsburgh.
Thursday, Mayor Biskupski and other GCAS mayors will jointly sign the “Deadline 2020” pledge outlining shared new commitments toward reducing global emissions.
Finally, on Friday morning, Mayor Biskupski will participate in a C40 panel “Building a More Just World Through Climate Action” which focuses on how climate change and its impacts affect the most vulnerable in our communities, and how mayors can mitigate those impacts.
A GCAS Affiliate event, “Utah’s Communities in Action,” will be held in Salt Lake City on Thursday, September 13th from 7:00 – 8:30 at the Main Library. Organized by the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Utah Climate Action Network, it will include representatives from Rocky Mountain Power, Utah Clean Energy, Logan High School’s Environmental Action Force, and Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Program Manager Tyler Poulson describing local action and next steps.