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Frisco addresses global warming

HARRIET HAMILTONsummit daily news

The town of Frisco took its first steps last week toward addressing the issue of global warming when the town council approved a resolution to adopt an official environmental stewardship policy.The resolution calls for all town employees to consider environmentally sustainable practices in all operating and budgetary decisions.”It will have an impact on every single department in the town,” Frisco community development director Mark Gage said.Buying recycled paper products, putting timers on building lights, increasing thermal efficiency when building new buildings and using biodiesel energy are all possible ways for the town to implement the policy, Gage added.The resolution addresses environmental sustainability in general, but is specific about the issue of global warming.”The international scientific community has reached consensus that human activities are warming the planet, and with its mountain setting and proximity to some of Colorado’s major ski resorts, Frisco is on the front lines of climate change …,” the resolution reads.Buildings account for about half of U.S. energy consumption, Gage said, and energy consumption leads to global warming.”Where change really needs to start is with buildings,” he said.Gage emphasized the importance of action at the local level.Global warming is becoming an important issue for mountain communities that depend on ski resorts for economic viability. Snowpack is already decreasing over much of the American West, according to “Less Snow, Less Water: Climate Disruption in the West” – a report released by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO), a Louisville-based advocacy group that monitors climate change in the region.What snowpack there is, the report goes on to say, melts earlier. A small increase in nighttime temperatures could have a devastating effect on the ski industry. The town of Frisco joined forces with a handful of other Colorado municipal governments, including Aspen, Boulder and Fort Collins, when it became a member of RMCO last fall. Councilmember Tom Looby credited Frisco’s town character with the impetus for the resolution.”We (the town council) reflect the strong environmental emphasis of our citizens,” he said.The city of Aspen is taking a particularly aggressive approach to reducing its climate-warming emissions. Last spring, the city launched its “Canary Initiative,” named after the traditional practice of keeping a caged canary in underground mines to detect deadly gases. As part of the initiative, the city, in partnership with the Aspen Skiing Company and area environmental groups, formed the Aspen Global Warming Alliance to study the area’s climate change and facilitate implementation of environmentally sustainable policies.Frisco is keeping its eye on Aspen, Gage said.”We’re waiting to see where the Canary Initiative goes,” he said. “It may be that we can partner with them down the road. It’s a possibility that we can use a lot of information they’re generating.”Harriet Hamilton can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13624, or at hhamilton@summitdaily.com.


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