Boulder, CO 's Climate Action Contribution
About Boulder, CO 's Climate Efforts
- 80% Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions (below 2005 levels) by 2050
- 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030
- 100 MW Local Generation by 2030
- 20% Reduction in Vehicle Miles Traveled by 2035
- 85% Reduction in Residential Natural Gas by 2050
- 35% Reduction in Commercial and Industrial Natural Gas by 2050
In December 2016, Boulder City Council formally adopted goals to guide Boulder’s climate action efforts, including reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% from 2005 levels by 2050; reducing emissions from city operations 80% below 2008 levels by 2030; and achieving 100% renewable electricity community-wide by 2030. All part of the city’s Climate Commitment document, the adopted goals also include progress indicators and targets for local renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, electric vehicle adoption and waste and water reductions for key milestone years.
In 2018, Boulder will continue to implement and improve core climate and energy programs including its Building Performance Ordinance for efficiency in commercial and industrial buildings, updating energy codes, SmartRegs rental housing efficiency requirements, one-on-one business and residential advising and reducing landfill emissions through the implementation of the Universal Zero Waste Ordinance.
The development of a Climate Action Plan will provide an actionable roadmap for the next five years in the areas of energy, resources and ecosystems. In 2018, staff is focused on implementation innovative strategies related to local solar development and electric vehicle adoption, as well as exploring alternative and additional pricing mechanisms and revenue sources for future climate work. Pilot projects are underway to increase resilient energy infrastructure and support the conversion of residential natural gas-based appliances to renewable-ready electric appliances, in addition to innovative community projects to reduce emissions through the Boulder Energy Challenge.
In Nov. 2017, Boulder voters passed measure 2L to continue funding the city’s municipalization efforts. The city will continue to work towards forming its own locally owned utility, which is the primary strategy for achieving a 100% renewable electricity supply.
Boulder will maintain its engagement of the community on the topic of climate action, including its partnership on the Boulder.Earth climate action website and work with community groups, like local faith communities, in addition to engagement related to municipalization.
Climate Action Commitments
Current Climate Actions Boulder, CO Is Taking:
Commit to 100% Renewable Electricity: Ready for 100
Ultimately, we must transition to communities powered by 100% clean, renewable energy. That transition should ensure benefit to low-income communities, a just transition for displaced workers in fossil fuel jobs, equitable access and affordability. If you are ready to set a 100% goal for your community, the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign can help build support for your vision. Join the nearly 70 US communities with 100% goals.
Partner with other US cities/counties to advocate for national climate policies and take collective action: Climate Mayors
Climate Mayors, founded in 2014, is a bipartisan, peer-to-peer network of over 400 U.S. mayors working together to demonstrate leadership on climate through meaningful actions in their communities, and to express and build political will for effective federal and global policy action.
Purchase renewable power or build on-site renewable electricity to run local government needs
Powering your own operations with renewable electricity or using local government buildings and land to site solar PV panels is within the decision-making authority of most localities and can be a model to your community.
Replace fleet vehicles and buses that run on fossil fuels with vehicles that run on electricity
Electric fleet vehicles, especially buses, have a range of benefits that make them an excellent investment for local government use. Cities are coming together to spur innovation amongst manufacturers and use their collective purchasing power to drive down cost.
Increase energy efficiency of local government operations, such as buildings, street lighting, and water or wastewater plants
Energy efficiency is the best way to save taxpayer money and cut climate pollution right now. The average building wastes about a third of the energy it uses. Consider implementing a strategic energy management plan for all major operations.
Work with energy utilities to increase renewable energy provided to residents and businesses
Going beyond the local government’s own operations to make renewable energy available to your community is a challenging, but critical step that means working with utilities, state government, and your residents. Clean, renewable bring with them better air, predictable, increasingly lower customer pricing, and local job deployment opportunities.
Adopt policies that accelerate the transition to electric vehicles for commercial fleets and personal vehicles
Electric vehicles for personal and commercial use are, along with automation, a major trend coming to scale quickly. The proper infrastructure to support EVs will be critical to capture their benefits. Consider partnership with the largest local commercial fleet operators to pilot new ideas.
Increase rates of walking, cycling and public transit through means accessible to all residents
In many communities, the transportation sector is the largest share of their pollution and getting people to use alternative modes of transit to the personal vehicle comes with a myriad of benefits, not only cutting greenhouse gases.
Adopt policies to reduce carbon footprint of new and/or existing buildings
Building electricity, heating, and cooling at the community-scale is, with transportation, the other major source of carbon emissions. Strategies will vary between single-family homes, multi-family residential housing, and commercial buildings. Conducting energy audits and using benchmarking is an excellent tool to drive efficiency. Incentive programs for energy upgrades can be done effectively the more buildings that participate.
Promote practices that reduce the carbon footprint of food procurement and consumption and prevent food waste
Food is often overlooked as a source of greenhouse gas pollution. What it takes to produce, how far is travels to get to consumers and what’s done with food that’s not eaten all lead to major carbon pollution. Producing more food locally, running programs with restaurants and institutions to reduce food waste, and cutting back on carbon intense foods such as meat and poultry are important steps.
Set a goal for emissions reduction equal to or greater than the US goal under the Paris Climate Agreement (26-28% by 2025)
We all know the best way to measure, and actually achieve success, is to set a goal. Making that goal inline with or stronger than the U.S. nationally determined contribution under Paris signals that local governments are doing their part. Hundreds of cities and counties across the U.S. see an emissions reduction target of this level ambitious but doable.
Quantify, track and publicly report my climate action through CDP or carbon Climate Registry
Disclosure of your climate targets, emissions profile, and actions on a transparent platform is important for accountability to your residents and is increasingly necessary to access tools and financial resources.
Use strategies building resilience to threats of climate change in zoning, capital improvement, comprehensive planning, and hazard mitigation documents
One of the most important things local governments can do when it comes to addressing climate change is to prepare for its effects--severe storms, drought, flooding, heat waves and more. Local government is already pledged to provide for the health and safety of their residents from these hazards. Climate change will make them worse and understanding and accounting for what’s to come in existing official documents is part of that responsibility.
Areas For Collaboration
We are interested in collaborating on the following:
- Encouraging more aggressive state energy efficiency policies
- Improving efficiency in existing buildings through real estate transactions
- Supporting building thermal decarbonization and electrification
- Aggregating demand for electric vehicles with other actors
- Encouraging more aggressive state targets for electric vehicles and GHG standards
- Promoting increased charging infrastructure
HFC Phase Down
- Encouraging states to adopt policies to phase out HFCs on an accelerated timeline
- Promoting greater participation in voluntary programs to phase out HFCs
- Collaborate on climate and clean energy action, and to advocate for stronger climate policy at the local level
- Enacting policies and programs that cut fugitive methane emissions from oil and gas production
- Scaling initiatives to reduce methane from livestock and increase production of on-farm renewable energy
- Supporting adoption of state-level policies to reduce methane from upstream and midstream oil and gas operations
- Supporting implementation of methane leak detection technology and processes in aging infrastructure
- Developing in measurement and monitoring systems to target efforts and track progress
- Encouraging states to adopt incentive programs for forest management, tree cover expansion, and soil health
- Promoting science-based targets for GHG emissions and removals in agricultural supply chains
- Encouraging more aggressive state renewable energy policies
- Supporting states, cities, and utilities in decarbonizing their energy supply