Students, lawmakers talk climate change at Capitol

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – A bipartisan group of Utah lawmakers and students from around the state met to discuss the impacts of climate change here in Utah and ways to solve it.

Organizers say they aren’t pushing any legislation but want to make sure people can find common ground on a sometimes-divisive issue.

During Thursday evening’s discussion we heard about solutions coming from the state and cities along with the innovations and cheaper technology to tackle climate change. Many of those in attendance agreed the conversation and collaboration is an important first step tackling the issues.

It was standing room only as people came together to discuss the impact and possible solutions to climate change in Utah. Student organizers say it wasn't about any one bill but starting a dialogue for solutions.

"So that people are open to the ideas when legislation comes within the Utah State Legislature. Primarily to see this as something that does not have to be divisive,” said Piper Christian, Logan High School student.

One scientist pointed out that while most think of hotter temperatures, and a lower snowpack.

He warned of the issues the state could face even if we avoid the biggest problems of climate change.

"I'm interested to know what happens when a few million Californians they're just tired or drought or they're really not getting any water and they say well Cache Valley has plenty of water,” said Rob Davies, Physicist with Utah State University.

Lawmakers say they've taken several steps in the last few years to mitigate pollution, and say help advance cleaner Tier 3 fuels.

Representative Mike Noel says they don't want to be punitive as a solution, but he notes the free market is making it easier and more affordable to make changes.

"The solar panels now are so much cheaper. I've replaced every light in my house with LED lights. Remember when they were $20 apiece and now they're down to something reasonable,” said Rep. Noel.

Experts say in green energy say technology changes will make the transitions even faster.

"A cell phone if you look back 10 years ago it wasn't what you have today. Now your life is run by what you hold in your hand. Well the same is going to happen for energy and clean energy,” said Mark Burdge, CEO of Evergreen Clean Energy Management.

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