Biskupski touts Salt Lake City’s efforts to address climate change and urges the federal government to step up

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) In this January file photo, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski gives her State of the City address at East High School in Salt Lake City, Jan. 17, 2019. On Tuesday she testified before Congress about local efforts to cut carbon emissions and the importance of the federal government in leading the fight against climate change.

Washington • Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski urged Congress to take action on combating climate change, noting that while her city is working toward lowering emissions, the federal government needs to step up.

Biskupski testified before a House Ways and Means subcommittee on Tuesday morning and noted that while she loves the beauty of Utah, carbon emissions are causing harmful air pollution, decreasing annual snowfall and prompting wildfires.

“During the hot summer months and the cool winters our air is filled with a dirty haze we know as the dreaded inversion,” she told the subcommittee. “And these days parents along the Wasatch Front send their kids to school wearing face masks to protect them from the harmful pollution trapped in the air.”

The mayor, one of several local and state officials to address the subcommittee, touted Salt Lake City’s efforts and pledge to rely on clean energy sources.

She said the city is focusing on energy-efficient or zero-emission buildings, including a public safety office and fire station, as well as improving public transit options. Salt Lake City, Park City, Moab and Summit County have all pledged to rely on 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

“Salt Lake City has numerous programs to mitigate carbon emissions and respond to climate change,” Biskupski added in her written testimony given to the subcommittee. “But it is imperative that the federal government lead our nation’s efforts to minimize climate impacts. Local governments can only do so much, and without your help the results of our efforts will be limited, and the damage caused by our changing climate will be much more extensive.”