Staff proposes new process, increased urgency to address the climate crisis

On July 9 at the City Council Study Session, city staff will propose a new phase in Boulder’s climate strategy in response to renewed climate urgency. Fully addressing climate change will require immediate, system-scale action to create an equitable future, rapidly reduce emissions and accelerate technological innovation.

Since the 2016 release of the city’s Climate Commitment several significant changes have occurred, including accelerating impacts from a changing climate, advances in state-level climate policy, new understandings about the most effective roles for cities in climate action, and recent U.N. analysis indicating that communities have approximately 10 years to implement system-scale change to avert climate catastrophe.

“According to recent scientific reports, the entire global community must act quickly at a vast scale to stave off climate catastrophe,” said Brett KenCairn, senior sustainability and resilience policy advisor. “We recognize that the city alone does not have the financial or technical resources to facilitate this transition in our community. Action at this scale will require participation, commitment and resources from everyone.”

The city plans to engage several partners in the nonprofit, corporate and public sectors, as well as the community, to update the city’s Climate Commitment and create a strategic 2030 Climate Mobilization Action Plan, with the goal of completing the plan in spring 2020. City staff will outline this new approach during the July 9 City Council Study Session and have published the associated staff memo. A list of the potential partners is included at the end of the memo.

The memo identifies several strategy update needs, including:

  • Climate changes are already occurring and will continue, necessitating that both equity and resilience become core design considerations integrated into all proposed strategies and actions.
  • Increased emphasis must be placed on the life cycle costs and the impacts of resource management that fall outside the city boundaries.
  • Emissions reductions alone will not be enough to stabilize climate; carbon capture and sequestration must be addressed.
  • Voluntary and behavioral change programs will not achieve the scale of change that is needed; strategies must be focused on systemic change.

The proposed focus areas of the climate plan are energy systems, ecosystems, circular materials economy, equity and resilience.

Learn more about the city’s Climate Initiatives department at Sign up to receive email updates from the city about climate and energy.


Filed June 28, 2019

Media Contacts:

Alexis Bullen, Media Relations, 303-441-1878

Emily Sandoval, Media Relations, 303-441-1927

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