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Salt Lake City Mayor Appointed to White House Task Force on Climate Change

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is among 26 local, state and tribal officials nationwide chosen to advise the Obama Administration on issues related to climate change. The announcement came earlier today, just as a new report was released detailing the effects of climate change on the city’s water supply.

The Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience is a feature of the president’s Climate Action Plan which he unveiled in June.  Mayor Becker says the group will meet over the next year to develop a set of recommendations for the administration, on how it can help local communities prepare for the unavoidable effects of climate change.

“I’m looking forward ways that we can help agencies look beyond their own boundaries, at how they can tie their resources together better, how they can tie their information together, how they can work the way we work in local governments,” Becker says. “We don’t draw a distinction between environmental issues and transportation issues.”

A new study out of the University of Colorado, Boulder shows temperatures in Salt Lake City have already risen two degrees Fahrenheit over the last century.  And every additional degree of warming could mean a 1.8 to 6.5 percent drop in the annual flow of streams that provide water to the city.

Becker says the city has to be pro-active and plan for repercussions like more intense wildfire seasons.

“We also know of course, in looking around the country that the intensity of storms increases which could lead to more flooding,” Becker says. “The whole combination of effects is huge for this city and for this valley and for this region.”

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan includes cutting carbon pollution, preparing communities and leading international efforts to address climate change.  

The task force will deliver its recommendations to the president within one year. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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