Salt Lake City is taking big steps to make sure its carbon footprint keeps getting smaller.

New goals announced today by Mayor Ralph Becker and members of the City Council call for the city to reduce its carbon footprint 20 percent by 2020, 50 percent by 2040 and 80 percent by 2050.

The City Council is expected to adopt the goals by resolution tonight.

"We need to look at (climate change) as a crisis that's facing our globe and our environment," Becker said during a morning news conference. "We need to take bold action to address what may be the defining issue of our era."

Between 2000 and 2005, Salt Lake City government reduced its carbon emissions by 33 percent, Becker said. That reduction largely was achieved by collecting methane gas at the landfill and capturing digester gas at the reclamation plant and converting it into energy, he said.

"Today we're taking the next step," Becker said.

The city's reduction goals are based on its 2005 levels, estimated at 106,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. A 20 percent decrease would reduce that number to 85,000 tons.

The city's goals exceed that of the Western Climate Initiative, a collaboration of governors of Western states and portions of Canada. The WCI, of which Utah is a member, is calling for a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

"We're taking a more aggressive posture," Becker said.


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