Utah has created a long-term plan to tackle climate change, a surprising shift for the Republican-led state where lawmakers have publicly questioned climate science, reports The Guardian.
The plan, known as the Utah Roadmap, came about after the Utah legislature gave the Gardner Institute $200,000 to complete a six-month study of climate and air quality. Researchers came up with seven recommendations, including reducing air pollution emissions by 50 percent and carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.
“If Utah acts on this, we would be the first red state to do so,” Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, said Monday in a meeting with the Deseret News and KSL editorial boards.
“There was a real interest in having a trusted entity bring together a diverse group of experts to give us good counsel,” Gochnour added.
Thomas Holst will lead the project.
“The economist Adam Smith talked about an invisible hand that guides the economy, and in this particular case, the cost of renewable energy, whether it’s wind or solar, has gone down so rapidly and made itself so market efficient versus fossil fuels, that there is a change, and the change can’t be ignored,” Holst said. “So now is the opportunity for a state like Utah which is rich in both renewables as well as fossil fuels to embrace that change and get out ahead of it.”
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