Community GHG emissions from electricity generation, natural gas combustion and vehicle emissions are measured in mt CO2e, which stands for metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This unit helps measure how much we are contributing to climate change through emissions.
Fifteen percent reduction by 2020, 80 percent reduction by 2050, using 2005 as the baseline. Current climate science tells us that an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases is necessary to protect our environment from further climate damage; the City of Boulder desires to meet or exceed that target by 2050 using 2005 as the baseline. The city’s shorter-term target is a 15 percent reduction by 2020, compared to the same 2005 baseline.
The City of Boulder and the Boulder community are committed to mitigating climate change by reducing GHG emissions. This page shows the Boulder community’s progress toward this goal. Another dashboard page, titled, “Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from City Operations and Facilities,” shows the municipal government’s progress toward the city organization’s emissions reduction goals. View more information about the city’s Climate Commitment. The community’s latest GHG inventory can be found at Boulder's Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
In 2019, Boulder achieved a 21 percent emissions reduction from its 2005 baseline, surpassing the 2020 emissions reduction goal by 6%. Even with this success, the city recognizes significant effort is required to reach the community’s 80% emissions reduction by 2050 goal and is committed to accelerating programs related to energy and vehicle efficiency, renewable energy, electrification and zero waste to achieve it.
Many factors affect greenhouse gas emissions in a community, from the state of the economy to weather trends. Additionally, standardized and complete energy data has not always been available because utilities are subject to data privacy rules. This has created gaps in some data such as in 2011, 2013, and 2014. The city has taken the approach of tracking this data to the best of its ability while also being transparent about some of the limitations.