Climate summit coming to Aspen in May
An Aspen summit envisioned by Mayor Steve Skadron will be held in May with the goal of attracting elected officials throughout Colorado to discuss and tackle climate change.
The event, scheduled May 18 and 19, will cost roughly $30,000 to stage. City Council agreed Tuesday to put up those funds, which it expects to be reimbursed by donors who already have committed money to the event. The event is called Compact of Colorado Communities. Skadron said he already has lined up about $20,000 to $25,000 in private pledges.
Skadron, who is outspoken about climate change and has used his mayoral platform to spur environmental policy on the city level, got the idea for the summit after attending the COP21 event in Paris in 2015, including the side event, Climate Summit for Local Leaders. That summit included such hosts as Michael Bloomberg, who Skadron has met in the past.
The event, which included collaboration among mayors regarding climate-change action, inspired Skadron to model a similar gathering in Aspen, which he conceded he is “shamelessly copying.”
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“To them there was an urgency to collaborate and get done locally what can’t be done in Washington,” Skadron said. “I felt a responsibility to the local community to carry that message forward. We need to get done here what can’t be done in Washington. That’s become more apparent with the recent election.”
Skadron, who is working with the city’s climate-action manager, Ashley Perl, on the event, as well as event organizer Ashley Feddersen, who the city is contracting out, said he hopes to have some “heavy hitters” for the event. He mentioned Ivanka Trump as a possibility, but did not elaborate on that selection.
Among the event’s goals for the attendees:
• Commit to supporting carbon-fee-and-dividend legislation at the state and federal levels.
• Start one public action campaign to reduce energy.
• Engage in a local, state or federal policy that has the potential to reduce energy or save greenhouse emissions.
• Sign on to the national Compact of Mayors of Colorado Communities for Climate Action.
• Commit to “incentivizing” renewable energy.
• Adopt a resolution or guiding statement expressing commitment to addressing climate change.
• Identify how climate change impacts a community and create a preparedness or climate resiliency plan.
Skadron and Perl also said they are confident they can raise enough private donations so the event will be of little or no cost to the city.
“Now we just have to get the inventions out,” the mayor said.
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