Water and Climate Change are both areas that bring Coloradans together. Here’s a report from Scott Condon writing for The Aspen Times. Click through and read the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt:
Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones, a former executive director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition, said the county’s research indicated that local action on climate could only achieve small improvements. The critical components are federal fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles and state mandates for renewable energy use by public utility companies, she said.
But Brad Udall, a researcher at the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University, said local actions are equally critical.
“This is the single most important issue facing humanity,” Udall said. Researchers are continually learning more about the consequences of the planet warming. “The science is compelling.”
Udall said farmers and others who work closely with the land understand that the climate is changing.
“As this affects people, they can do nothing but get aboard,” he said.
On the local level, taking action to reduce greenhouse emissions from vehicles and in buildings can be a tremendous help, he said.
More than 40 elected officials from Colorado municipalities and counties attended the conference organized by Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron. Ironically, several people who signed up were unable to attend because of travel woes created by a mid-May blizzard.
Skadron said he convened the meeting because he was inspired after attending the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015. He had been invited along with mayors of major cities because Aspen gained attention for getting its municipal utility converted to 100 percent renewable energy. Skadron initially felt he shouldn’t attend.
“I didn’t think it was appropriate for a small-town mayor,” he said.
He reconsidered after talking to Aspen Skiing Co. Vice President of Sustainability Auden Schendler, whose philosophy is Aspen should use the limelight as an internationally famous resort as a lever on important issues.
Skadron decided to go, but not just sit in the audience and clap. Aspen Climate Action manager Ashley Perl used her connections to get Skadron on three committees convened at the Paris talks. His message: curbing greenhouse-gas emissions is urgent, collaboration is necessary and local officials must drive action and force cooperation at the state and national levels.
Since Paris, Skadron has spoken on climate issues in Taiwan, South Korea and Dubai, all on their dime, not at the expense of Aspen taxpayers.
“It really catapulted Aspen’s climate plan to a new level,” Perl said.