SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 23, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Mayor Jackie Biskupski joined 32 other mayors from around the United States Tuesday in asking President-elect Donald Trump to work with cities to mitigate climate change over the coming years.
“As Mayors, we have taken it upon ourselves to take bold action within our cities to tackle the climate crisis head-on,” the letter to Trump begins, according to a news release from the Mayor’s office.
“We write today to ask for your partnership in our work to clean our air, strengthen our economy, and ensure that our children inherit a nation healthier and better prepared for the future than it is today.”
Mayors of cities including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City have signed the letter.
“Each month, we see a new heat record breaking for the Salt Lake City area,” Biskupski said in a prepared statement. “Climate change is real. It’s impacting our communities right now. And we’re calling for the President-elect to join with us to ensure a livable future for our children.”
The news release goes on to say that this summer, Salt Lake City had 21 consecutive days more than 95 degrees, the warmest nighttime low ever recorded at 81 degrees, and the warmest June since 1874. This summer, the capital city also broke three high maximum records, 14 high minimums, and 17 total heat records.
More recently, Salt Lake City broke the record for the latest frost date. After 242 days, on Nov. 17, the airport hit 32 degrees — setting another record for the number of consecutive days above freezing.
Local bodies of water have also suffered, the news release said.
“In mid-July, a toxic algal bloom on Utah Lake — caused, in part, by high water temperatures and low water levels — closed the lake, sickened more than 100 people, and put dozens of farmers in Utah and Salt Lake counties in a bind during one of the hottest weeks of the year.
“Emergencies like this are not just inconvenient; they cost cities, private citizens, state agencies, and businesses money,” the release continues. “The coalition cited a recent estimate that the monetary cost to the American economy of climate change will be upward of $500 billion annually by 2050.”
Earlier this year, Biskupski and the City Council passed one of the most aggressive energy policies in the nation, pledging to source 100 percent of Salt Lake City’s community-wide electricity needs from renewable sources by 2032, and pledging to reduce overall carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2040.
In the days since the Presidential election, Biskupski repeated Salt Lake City’s commitment to overall environmental sustainability and emissions reductions.
“Nothing is more important than the air we breathe–and, knowing we have as many inhalers as lunch boxes in our city schools, we do not have time to waste,” Biskupski wrote Sunday in a blog post entitled Keeping Salt Lake City Great.
The letter to the President-elect furthermore calls for leadership from the Trump administration on everything from transit, infrastructure, and renewable energy to the Paris Climate Agreement, and urges cooperation with cities on those fronts.
“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,” the letter concludes. “We have no choice and no room to doubt our resolve. The time for bold leadership and action is now.”
The letter to President-elect Trump was signed by member cities of the Mayors Climate Action Agenda or the #ClimateMayors, and can be viewed in full here.