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Salt Lake City Mayor Heads to Paris Climate Talks

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Climate change activists, restricted from marching in Paris after the attacks two weeks ago, to demonstrate their support for carbon-pollution reductions. Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker was headed to the talks Monday.

World leaders kicked off meetings in Paris Monday in the search for solutions to runaway climate change.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker will be participating in discussions among local leaders concerned about climate pollution. He’s been working on it with the White House for more than two years. Becker was part of a task force last year that developed a kind of climate-change toolkit for local communities.

“Others can learn from Salt Lake City in terms of what we have done and how we’ve done it within the budget,” he said as he prepared to board a plane to Paris Monday to join the U.S. delegation at the talks. “And, likewise, we can learn from what other folks are doing.”

Salt Lake City has been recognized internationally for its efforts in coping with climate change impacts, like planning for water, flooding and drought. The city’s also pledged to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050, and it’s on track to make those reductions.

Becker says collaboration among nations, indigenous communities, local governments and businesses has already produced some positive results, like plans announced Monday to step up clean energy.

“What we’re hoping for,” he said, “is there’s this confluence of all of these efforts and we take a big step forward collectively to try to address what’s happening out there in terms of climate change.”

Also on Monday, Utah Senator Mike Lee told Fox News that President Obama should seek Senate approval if he commits the United States to any agreement in Paris.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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