Wilkes Center hosts climate change panel between Sister City leaders

Addressing climate change on the local level with two international leaders was the focus of a recent panel discussion between Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Matsumoto Mayor Yoshinao Gaun.

The discussion, hosted at the S.J. Quinney College of Law on July 23 by the Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy at the University of Utah and the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development, was part of a weekend of events celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Matsumoto, Japan, and Salt Lake City.

Founded in the 1950s by President Dwight Eisenhower, Sister Cities International was formed with the goal of fostering global peace and stability by creating connections between people in different parts of the world. The conversation between the two mayors is an example of how Sister City relationships can provide opportunities for communities from different parts of the world to support each other in finding solutions to the problems they share.

“Rather than taking on this work of addressing climate change as individual cities, we can work together as Salt Lake City and Matsumoto city,” said Gaun through a translator during the panel.

As Salt Lake City experienced three consecutive days of temperatures over 100 degrees, Mendenhall noted it was a fitting time to discuss the efforts cities were making to address climate change.

“Perhaps there couldn’t be a better day for us to gather here and discuss what great work Salt Lake City is doing and how we can learn more from our Sister City, Matsumoto,” she said. “Because our nation does not have any national climate strategy with specific goals, unlike Japan, which does, our actions at the local level are mighty.”

Read the entire story by Matilyn Mortensen in @TheU.

Listen to National Science Foundation’s recent podcast with Bill Anderegg here.