Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker hosted a brainstorming session last week with members of President Obama's new White House Task Force on Climate Change. The panel’s task is to find strategies to fight the impacts of climate change.
President Obama sent two key aides to participate in the discussion. Mayor Ralph Becker says the event was an opportunity to show how different government entities can work together.
“They look to us at the local level and at the state level to help shape what they should be doing at the federal level," says Becker.
David Agnew is the Director White House Intergovernmental Affairs and Nancy Sutley chairs the Council on Environmental Quality. Both agree that working with municipalities like Salt Lake City on climate change solutions is crucial. Mayor Becker took them into the Wasatch Range to illustrate how the forests capture and store water. Recent projections show hotter temperatures could mean 1 to nearly 7 percent less water. David Agnew says combating climate change will help preserve Utah’s natural landscapes.
“Seeing the Wasatch Mountains personally and knowing all the ways those mountains are important to the people of the region really makes you realize how important it is to protect them,” says Agnew.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers joined the discussion. So did the State Climatologist, local clean energy advocates and other members of the community concerned about climate change. Agnew says he also met with Gov. Gary Herbert privately during his trip and told him about the task force’s work. The panel’s findings are due at the end of the year.