Climate Action Plan: What is it and why does it matter to me?

Have you heard of the Climate Action Plan? The City of Fort Collins is gearing up for an update to this very critical plan that will serve as a blueprint for a healthy and livable/resilient Fort Collins for decades.

What is climate change and why does it matter to us? Here in Fort Collins, climate change means we are likely to see an increase in extreme weather occurring over time and more weather-related disasters like drought, floods and wildfire. In 15 short years, our summers may be 6 degrees warmer, making our/Fort Collins’ climate more like that of Albuquerque, New Mexico. For all of us/those of us who love to ski, this means we may not have as much time to hit the slopes before the snow melts. Facts show that Fort Collins experienced twice as many 90-degree days in the past 14 years than in the previous 39 years.

Even in our community, there are things we can do to prepare to reduce these effects.

For several decades, your City government, together with the community, has worked to lower emissions as part of a commitment to environmental sustainability and as a way to be more resilient to climate change.

In April 2014, the Fort Collins City Council provided clear direction to update our community’s Climate Action Plan to meet more aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals. Why? Because the need to act is more urgent, there are solutions available that can benefit Fort Collins, and the sooner we act, the more cost-effective it will be.

Council authorized formation of a Citizen Advisory Committee to oversee the plan. The updated Climate Action Plan will lay out strategies needed to reduce community emissions to 80 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030 and ultimately to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Our residents and businesses have already made some progress – we have reduced emissions even while our population and the economy grew. But emissions are creeping up again. So how do we continue to see improvements? Through the Climate Action Plan, we’re going to look at continuing communitywide strategies like making our buildings more efficient and productive, improving the efficiency of new building construction, finding new ways to decrease the amount of waste we put into the landfill, and supporting healthier  modes of transportation – buses, bikes and other ways to cut down on vehicle emissions.

Those are the types of strategies that the Citizen Advisory Committee and residents will be discussing over the next few months with a new Climate Action Plan scheduled to be adopted in early 2015. Stay updated and share your thoughts with us at

City aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The city of Fort Collins hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent in the next five years, and it wants your help.

A committee charged with updating Fort Collins’ Climate Action Plan will host its first public open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Drive.

Lucinda Smith, director of environmental services, said the plan will be designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, 80 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. Electricity accounts for around half of Fort Collins’ greenhouse gas emissions, with 70 percent to 75 percent of the city’s electricity fueled by coal.

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News Release: CSU Professor Scott Denning to Speak at City Public Open House December 3 on Climate Action Plan Update

Contact: Lucinda Smith, Environmental Services Director,, 970.224.6085

Date: November 25, 2014


CSU Professor Scott Denning to Speak at City Public Open House December 3 on Climate Action Plan Update

Despite an increase in population since 2005, carbon emissions have largely declined in Fort Collins, and residents here divert nearly 65 percent of their trash from the landfill.

So what’s next? The public is invited to a series of public meetings starting December 3 to help the City define its energy future for the next 20 to 30 years with an update to the Climate Action Plan – a roadmap of strategies to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions and increase its resiliency to climate change.

The first public open house on the Climate Action Plan update will be 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, December 3 at the Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Drive. A brief presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m. with Scott Denning, a professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, and Lucinda Smith, director of Environmental Services at the City. Students from CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation will also be in attendance and assisting with future public meetings on the plan. Participants will be provided with information on a suite of tactics currently being explored and asked for feedback, questions and suggestions.

As part of the 2015 update to the Climate Action Plan, the City is looking at new and existing community-wide strategies in four areas: Energy Efficiency and Conservation, Energy Supply, Waste Reduction, and Transportation.

The City has been a leader in climate protection for almost two decades, starting with the first greenhouse gas reduction goal and plan in 1999. Emissions have been below 2005 baseline levels while the City’s population and economy – as measured by Sales and Use Tax revenue – grew. Currently, the Climate Action Plan calls for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

City Council directed staff to update the plan, noting that Fort Collins is a nationally recognized leader in finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in adapting to climate change, and that new opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have emerged, including advancements in energy technologies such as smart grid, vehicle electrification opportunities and changes in the price of energy solutions. Council requested an ad hoc committee be formed to update the Climate Action Plan to meet the following objectives:

  • 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020
  • 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2030
  • 100 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 (Carbon neutral)

Stay up-to-date on the Climate Action Plan update at


ColoradoBiz Magazine Honors FortZED among Top 50 Green Champions

ColoradoBiz magazine has recognized FortZED – a unique collaboration of Fort Collins government, business and university leaders working on cutting-edge alternative energy solutions – as one of 50 Colorado Firms on a Greener Path.

FortZED is one of seven organizations recognized as a 2014 Green Champion in the Non-Profit/Government category along with the Rocky Mountain Institute, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. As part of its first “Green Colorado” July/August issue, ColoradoBiz highlights the companies and organizations “whose sustainable initiatives are setting the standard for other businesses to follow.”

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