The release of methane is one the largest sources of greenhouse gases contributing to global climate change. (Leonid Ican/Adobe Stock)

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 By Mark Richardson

November 5, 2021   

PARK CITY, Utah — As talks continue at the annual international climate summit, Utahns are among those urging the U.S. to follow up on its commitments. They want Congress to pass federal climate legislation and President Joe Biden to declare a national climate emergency.

Glenn Wright, chair of the Summit County Council and a Vietnam War veteran, is one of dozens of local elected officials concerned for both the immediate effects and the long-term consequences of climate change.

“I consider climate change an existential threat to the world,” Wright asserted. “But it’s really even more important to our environment here in the Summit County area.”

The Biden administration’s Build Back Better framework includes more than $500 billion in investments to curb climate change. Groups say the investments are urgent, but more will be needed to address the global consequences.

Wright is deeply concerned about the geopolitical issues caused by a warming planet, but said it also causes environmental problems in southwestern Utah.

“We have a really significant number of trees in the forest that are dying from beetle kill and are now emitting both carbon dioxide and methane and their deterioration,” Wright pointed out. “They need to be removed, so we can get some new growth in there and revitalize.”

Alex Cornell du Houx, former state representative and president of Elected Officials to Protect America and a veteran, said during his time in Afghanistan, he witnessed first-hand the impact that water and other resources can have during times of conflict.

“Conflicts across the world are due to climate and water-security issues,” Cornell du Houx emphasized. “What’s happening, unfortunately, is it’s becoming a threat multiplier, that the U.S. is very insulated in many ways against, but it’s also coming to the U.S. in much more grave manners.”

World leaders concluded their speeches earlier this week and secured global agreements to reduce deforestation and methane emissions. Meanwhile in Congress, Democrats are trying to keep a measure in the Build Back Better Act that would place fees on methane emissions.

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References:  COP26 conference United Nations 2021
Build Back Better framework White House 10/28/2021