City of Aspen searches for global warming manager
ASPEN – How do you find a global warming manager?No, there’s no punch line. This isn’t a joke.Aspen is one of only a handful of cities in the nation with such a position, so it’s not like there are a bunch of global warming managers out there surfing Monster.com in search of a better company. (And if they did, they wouldn’t come up with Aspen’s position – but they would find an advertisement for “project manager [Warming]” with Starbucks.)So when Aspen’s global warming manager, Dan Richardson, gave notice last month that he’d be moving to a consulting job, the city had to use somewhat different channels to find a replacement.According to public works director Phil Overeynder, the city began advertising last week in various trade journals and on environmental websites. The pay range is $60,000 to $82,000.Officials are also putting out the word through Aspen’s Global Warming Alliance, an amalgamation of science and business interests the city brought together after adopting the Canary Initiative to help with community outreach and advancing the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.The ideal candidate, Overeynder said, will have a good science background, good communication skills and experience in implementing strategies for reducing emissions.Overeynder said Richardson’s replacement will have to be “very well-motivated to work very hard.” The new global warming manager will be expected to translate the action plan into results, he said.The first order of business for the new manager will be to finalize the Canary Action Plan, which the City Council reviewed earlier this month. Richardson told the council the action plan he presented is “aggressive” but in keeping with what scientists say is necessary to stabilize the climate.Finalizing a set of actions the city can feasibly take, that will actually meet the goals in the plan, could be tough. The council must balance the environmental goals of the city with what’s realistically possible, especially considering the wishes of the public and the community’s business and economic needs. But the new global warming manager will have to do just that.When Richardson presented the plan, the council supported the goals but balked at his suggestion that the city automatically move forward with the “preferred alternative” for the Entrance to Aspen, and wondered why there weren’t more specific goals for reducing emissions at the airport. The council didn’t appear ready to act on the Entrance issue without garnering further input from the public about what they would like to do – a process that’s already dragged on for more than 30 years.But allowing that debate to continue into the future could be contrary to the city’s environmental goals. Richardson has said the time for action on the Entrance issue was yesterday, not tomorrow.”Scientists a year ago were saying we have 10 years to lay the groundwork for the major changes that have to occur,” he said in an interview shortly after announcing his resignation. “It’s no longer reasonable to think about this as a future problem. It’s urgent.”In another seeming contradiction, Councilman Jack Johnson noted the irony in taking actions like turning off the warming hearth on the mall while failing to address airport emissions, which have been identified as one of the major contributors to the community’s overall gas emissions.Problems like the Entrance to Aspen and the airport highlight the pressure the new global warming manager will be under to get results in a social climate that appears to want to debate every action.Overeynder said the high-profile job could be stressful at times, but officials think it’s an attractive position nonetheless. But get your application in now. The deadline is March 5.
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