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Salt Lake City joins communities in 3 states to fund new carbon dioxide removal projects

Downtown Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake Valley are pictured on June 2. Salt Lake City officials said Wednesday they are joining communities in three neighboring states to fund more carbon dioxide removal projects.

Downtown Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake Valley are pictured on June 2. Salt Lake City officials said Wednesday they are joining communities in three neighboring states to fund more carbon dioxide removal projects. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of Utah's capital city say they are joining local communities in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico in a coalition that seeks to accelerate carbon dioxide removal projects within the Four Corners region.

Boulder County, Colorado, and city leaders in Flagstaff, Arizona, initially launched the "4 Corners Carbon Coalition," or 4CCC for short, earlier this year. Its goal is to stimulate the development of projects that remove carbon dioxide from the environment, which is considered a leading cause of climate change.

Salt Lake City and Sante Fe, New Mexico, leaders announced Wednesday that they will join the coalition.

"The 4 Corners Carbon Coalition is a living example of how local governments are working together to tackle the climate crisis," said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall in a statement.

"Over the years, we have pioneered approaches to fast-tracking renewable energy development. We're building cleaner buildings and investing in healthy transportation. But we need to do more," she added. "Salt Lake City is thrilled to join the coalition to support the next frontier of projects to reduce local emissions. This innovative partnership will support and bring awareness to the many ways that we can pull carbon out of the air."

The endeavor started with some seed funding for regional carbon dioxide removal projects set up by Boulder County and Flagstaff, according to the coalition. They added that the organization plans to provide catalytic investments that accelerate the project and business development in this field.

Members of the coalition are expected to hold a webinar on Oct. 19 to discuss details of an inaugural round of catalytic grant funding.

The coalition emerged after the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report earlier this year calling for more low emission and carbon dioxide-removing projects to help slow down the warming climate.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Center for Science Education, located in Boulder, Colorado, states there are already a few ways this can be done. Forests and farms can trap carbon dioxide in the ground, while large air filters can be set up to store carbon dioxide in the ground — though experts say the latter option can be "slow and expensive."

There is a reason the communities involved are interested in the idea, however. The coalition's creation comes as all four states continue to deal with the impacts of drought, wildfires and poor air quality among other climate-related issues.

This includes the Marshall Fire, a devastating wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 homes in the Boulder County area at the end of 2021. It resulted in $513.2 million in damages, according to KDVR in Denver.

"Boulder County knows all too well the catastrophic impacts of climate change, which is why we are thrilled to partner with other local governments to fight the climate crisis through carbon dioxide removal," said Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones. "The 4 Corners Carbon Coalition will take action to develop and test real-world projects to address the enormous challenge we face."

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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