Local Resilience Project
The Colorado Climate Network and the Colorado Municipal League have convened a statewide Local Resilience Project to help improve the resilience of Colorado local governments and local resources to possible climate change impacts, including increases in wildfires, floods, and health-threatening heat waves. Over 80 representatives from 32 local governments and seven related local organization are now working to develop an agenda of actions to improve local resilience, focusing on what local governments and agencies can do, and what they need from the state and federal governments and others to be able to carry out those local actions. A report is expected in December 2014 or January 2015.
Check out the latest grants listed on our grants page. A new posting describes a White House announcement of a new national disaster resilience competition.
New Climate Change in Colorado report. Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado and the Colorado Water Conservation Board on August 5 released a report, Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation, which updates and expands on the 2008 WWA-CWCB report of the same name. The report is an excellent summary, certainly the best yet, of how climate change may unfold in Colorado. The report is officially designed to be useful to the water provider community but will be equally useful to everybody interested in climate change here.
The report includes new projections on future temperature and precipitation changes, using the latest climate models and emissions scenarios. Importantly, supplemental information posted online by WWA (available via the link at the bottom of this page) presents those projections across all four new emissions scenarios (ranging from one assuming rapid reductions in emission of heat-trapping pollution to another assuming a continued high rate of emission increases) and for two time periods, one centered on 2050 and one on 2070. RMCO has posted a fact sheet summarizing all of those projections.
City and County of Denver announces community input sessions for the update of its Climate Action Plan. The city is updating its 2007 Climate Action Plan, among the first in the nation, and is inviting public input at a series of July input sessions. The city is looking for comments on the City’s short term strategies currently in place to meet its 2020 targets; input and suggestions for medium and long-term strategies to meet its 2030-2050 targets; and for help in sustaining its leadership in taking action towards a healthy and vibrant community and planet. Two input sessions will be held in different parts of the City for residents and neighborhood organizations. Another session will be held specifically for non-profit organizations in Denver. See more information here.
Denver in June released its first Climate Adaptation Plan. It is an exemplary effort keyed on meeting its “long-term vision to be one of the most innovative and resilient cities in the face of climate change.” To prepare, mitigate, and plan for three primary risks (increased temperature and heat island effect, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and reduced snowpack and earlier snowmelt), the plan lays out short, mid-term, and long-term actions focused on six sectors: buildings and energy, health and human services, land use and transportation, urban natural resources, water consumption, and food and agriculture.
Natural Resources Defense Council issues two papers: "Waste Less, Pollute Less: Using Urban Water Conservation to Advance Clean Water Act Compliance" and "Using State Revolving Funds to Build Climate-Resilient Communities." The former paper explains how urban water conservation can help address water quality and water supply needs at the same time, while keeping costs down for ratepayers. The paper shows how programs and policies that reduce indoor and outdoor water use can help achieve cost-effective compliance with sewer overflow, sewage collection and treatment, and stormwater obligations. The latter paper explains how the Clean Water State Revolving Funds and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds can better support and incorporate measures to make communities more resilient to climate change risks. It demonstrates to local, state, and federal decision makers how water efficiency, green infrastructure, and flood resiliency policies can maximize the effectiveness of State Revolving Fund investments.
President Obama announces national disaster resilience competition. President Obama has announced a nearly $1 billion competition that will invite communities that have experienced natural disasters to compete for funds to help them rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters. The competition will support innovative resilience projects at the local level while encouraging communities to adopt policy changes and activities that plan for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change and rebuild affected areas better prepare for the future. Of the nearly $1 billion available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, about $820 million will be available to all states and local governments that experienced a Presidentially-declared major disaster in 2011, 2012, and 2013. All successful applicants will need to show how their proposed action relates to the disaster from which they are recovering. HUD will ensure that geographic diversity is a consideration in the selection of participating communities. Details on the application will be posted on the Network's grants webpage.
To protect public health, many major cities confront urban heat island effect. According to an American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) news release on June 17, 2014, an ACEEE survey of 26 North American cities, including eight in the West, includes case studies on how cities are responding to urban heat, demonstrating the variety of strategies employed.
New RMCO Report: More Extreme Heat in Fort Collins. RMCO and the City of Fort Collins released in early February 2014 a RMCO report documenting increases in hot days and heat waves in Fort Collins since 1961. Annual rates of 95 degree days and of three straight days of 90 degrees or hotter, for example, have tripled so far this century, compared to 1961-1999 rates. New climate projections prepared for the report also show large increases in these frequencies in the future, especially if future levels of heat-trapping pollution grows at about the current rate. With that medium-high level of future emissions, these 90-degree heat waves could occur five times as often as the historic rate by mid-century, and nine times as often by the end of the century. See more information here.
The mission of the Colorado Climate Network is to support efforts by local governments and allied organizations in Colorado to reduce heat-trapping gases and to adapt to climate change – whether those efforts are styled as climate, sustainability, energy, or adaptation programs. Launched by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and local community partners in May 2009, the Network helps its members develop and implement those programs, learn of funding and other resources, and interact more productively with other local and state programs in Colorado.
For more information about the Colorado Climate Network, click on the About link on the navigation bar on the top of this page.
For more information about the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, go to the RMCO website.