Utah think tank says state should cut CO2 emissions 80% by 2050

A Utah electric vehicle charging station, Jan. 6, 2020./ 
 Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune

By Bethany Rodgers | The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah should strive to slash air pollution by half and carbon dioxide emissions by 80% in coming decades, a goal that would demand commitment from government leaders, industry and each state resident, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute argues.

The University of Utah think tank on Monday published a draft road map for cleaning up the air and confronting climate change in the state. What’s at stake is the health of Utahns, the welfare of the state’s economy and the viability of a 2030 or 2034 Olympic bid, according to the institute.

“It would be a really big step for a conservative red state like Utah to lead on,” Natalie Gochnour, who directs the policy institute, said during a Monday editorial board meeting at The Salt Lake Tribune offices.

Gochnour acknowledged that climate change is still a sensitive topic in the conservative state Legislature — which is why the report focuses on market-based changes and “positive solutions” and highlights strides the state has already taken. For instance, Dominion Energy is helping invest $500 million over the next decade in renewable natural gas projects nationwide, according to the report.

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