Climate and Energy Polling in Utah:
The latest Gallup poll reveals that at 64%, serious concern for global warming is at an eight-year high across the country.
Sixty percent of Utah adults understand global warming is already happening and almost half recognize that it is caused mostly by humans.
Utah’s Energy Profile:
In 2015, Utah’s installed solar capacity addition ranked seventh in the country, with 231 MW of solar power. Overall, the state ranks 16th in installed solar power capacity.
The state is party to the lawsuit against the Clean Power Plan and has suspended plans to prepare a state compliance plan.
David Sundwall, former Executive Director of the Utah Department of Health, has warned that suspending work on the Clean Power Plan will have negative health consequences, especially relating to long-term asthma, heart and lung diseases.
Utah is Vulnerable to Climate Change:
Last winter, the state experienced an early melting of snow in the valleys, demonstrating howclimate change is altering western winters. Early snow-melts could lead to severe water shortages in the state as over 80 percent of Wasatch Front’s water comes from snowmelt. The dry conditions this winter have led to concerns of a first-ever shortage at Lake Mead.
Utah could stop being a skiing destination by the end of the century due to global warming. In August last year, the president of Ski Utah wrote a letter to Gov. Gary Herbert asking for his support of the Clean Power Plan.
Drought conditions, along with climate change and insect infestations, have been the leading cause of wildfires in the state. From 2003 to 2012, Utah ranked seventh of 11 western states in number of wildfires and eighth in the area burnt. Going forward, wildfire management is expected to cost the state about $86.6 million.
At present, nearly 9 percent of Utah adults suffer from asthma. High levels of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter common in coal plant emissions, both of which are produced in tandem with other greenhouse gases, are strongly linked to a rise in asthma attacks.
The Southwest region in general will be affected by reduced snowpack, water shortage, increased wildfires, sea level rise and coastal damage.