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 fcgov.com/climateprotection.

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