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Boulder Climate Commitment

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Climate Change in Boulder - video by City of Boulder Youth Opportunities Advisory Board





Rising to the climate challenge, powering a vibrant future

The burning of coal, oil and gas for energy is warming Earth’s atmosphere and changing our climate. As  a re sult, we’ve seen more frequent and intense temperature extremes and destructive  weather events. For our community, climate action is about resilience and transformation: we need to adapt to the climate changes that are already in motion, as well as reduce the emissions-heavy activities that drive future climate change. We face a great challenge but also a great opportunity to make Boulder better-- to  create a healthier,   safer and more prosperous community. We need your help to make it happen.

What’s the plan?

As we take the next steps in our Climate Commitment pdf, we are focusing on three key areas of action. If adopted by City Council, our community will commit to:

  1. Orange circle  Energy:

    Using energy more wisely and transitioning to clean, renewable and local power to fuel our lives—our households, businesses, and transportation, as well as our digital world;
  2. blue circle  Resources:

    Using other natural resources, such as food and water, more wisely and reducing our waste; and 
  3. green circle  Ecosystems:

    Restoring the health of the urban, farming and natural ecosystems that help sustain our community and play a key role in climate stability. This is likely to include harnessing new technologies that allow for carbon sequestration and other innovative approaches.

Rising to the climate challenge will require long-term action in all three areas; however, the city’s short-term strategy has focused on the first—energy—as the chief driver of climate change. To reduce harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy use, we will:  improve building efficiency and performance; expand clean transportation options; and develop renewable, local energy sources created in or closer to Boulder.










Now that’s local power

Moving away from burning fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable and local energy is a big deal. It's a Boulder Energy Future. A total transition will require us to minimize not just coal, but also reduce petroleum and natural gas use. That's a big challenge. But with our community spending more than $300 million each year on fuel, we stand to save a lot of money in the end. Plus, spending those dollars locally on renewable energy technology will create jobs and other benefits, not the least of which is clean air for our children and future generations. Now that's local power.

What does success look like?

By focusing on concrete actions, we can measure our climate progress in ways that are meaningful to our daily lives. No one (including us) quite knows what an “emission” looks like. But we know what new solar panels look like. We understand what a less drafty building feels like. We can see cost savings on our monthly energy bills. And we notice when more people use public transportation and ride their bikes, resulting in less traffic and improved health.

How do I plug in?

In speaking about climate action, we use words like “we” and “our” and “us.” That’s on purpose. While the city takes ownership for creating a valuable and realistic climate plan, we believe in the power of shared understanding – and action. You are a stakeholder in our community’s future, and we welcome your input in the community discussions taking place now. These will contribute to a public working session in April to clearly define what steps the city must take and what actions we, as a community and as individuals, can take. Lend your voice to this important discussion by contacting the city or Boulder's Climate Culture Collaborative (C3 Boulder) directly, and by hosting or attending an informal discussion for your friends, neighborhoods or interest-based community. 

Contact us

Contact Senior Environmental Planner Brett KenCairn at 303-441-3272.


David Driskell
Executive Director, Planning, Housing & Sustainability

Brett KenCairn
Senior Environmental Planner

Kendra Tupper
Energy Services Manager

Jonathan Koehn
Regional Sustainability Coordinator

Chris Hagelin
Senior Transportation Planner

Quick Resources

History of climate action in Boulder

Climate Action Plan

Boulder launched its first formal climate action efforts pdf in 2002. Since that time, the city has been at the forefront of innovation in working to reduce climate impacts: adopting the country's first carbon tax (Climate Action Plan Tax) developing a national model for delivering energy efficiency services, enacting the country’s most stringent energy code for new buildings, and much more. 

Boulder's Climate Action Plan , often referred to as the CAP, was Boulder's first phase of climate action, and featured a set of aggressive, city-funded programs and services designed to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. As a result of CAP-funded programs, many of which exist today, Boulder avoided more than 50,000 metric tons of emissions between 2007 and 2015, keeping our community emissions fairly constant despite growth in population, jobs and economic activity. 

Boulder Climate Commitment

Our goal now is to build on the success of Boulder's Climate Action Plan and foster economic vibrancy while reducing overall emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. That's our new Climate Commitment. Reaching this goal means ramping up our climate efforts and in particular, our actions to promote energy efficiency and conserve natural resources. 

Learn more about Boulder's energy use and GHG emissions through Boulder's GHG inventory.

Community climate groups and resources

Action Group


Be Zero Inspire, educate, and activate individuals to dramatically reduce their individual plastic and trash footprint and to create simple and sustainable lifestyle habits.
Center for Resource Conservation The Center for ReSource Conservation’s (CRC’s) goals are to tackle resource conservation issues in our community, to provide accessible and affordable conservation solutions, and to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with non-sustainable practices.
Citizens Climate Lobby Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.
Clean Energy Action Clean Energy Action (CEA) is a nonprofit organization based in Boulder, Colorado with a proven track record of educating the public to support a shift in public policy towards a post-fossil fuel economy.
CO Ocean Coalition Engage and connect people living inland in local and national ocean conservation efforts. The key to our success is directly related to the energy and initiative of all those who believe in COCO.
Coloradoans Against Fracking This coalition is working to grow the movement to ban fracking in Colorado by educating thousands of Coloradans, holding our elected officials accountable and pushing back against the oil and gas industry’s plans to place thousands of wells next to homes, schools, public parks and pristine areas in our state.
Colorado Renewable Energy Society Boulder County Chapter BCRES is dedicated to the advancement of all forms of renewable energy (RE), energy efficiency (EE), and their synergy with sustainability and economic development in all of Boulder County’s cities and towns, including Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, and Lafayette.
CU - ASE The environmental justice project at the University of Colorado at Boulder was created by the University of Colorado Student Government (CUSG) to address the fact that communities of color and underprivileged populations are often unjustly burdened by environmental degradation and pollution.
CU Biomimicry Club A student group open to all majors and interests. In general, we are passionate about how different fields of knowledge are woven together, and how this perspective can help us create a sustainable future.
CU Environmental Center The CU Environmental Center is the nation's largest and most accomplished student-led center of its kind. By translating student leadership into action and engaging the campus community, the Center helps CU-Boulder to become a global leader in sustainability.
C3 A Boulder-based collaborative dedicated to leveraging and coordinating existing climate change efforts for magnified impact
Divest Invest The Divest Invest Initiative’s campaign to engage individuals across the economic spectrum in the global fossil fuel divestment and sustainable investment movements is succeeding and expanding through the support of many passionate and courageous movement leaders.
Eco-Cycle Eco-Cycle’s mission is to identify, explore and demonstrate the emerging frontiers of sustainable resource management and climate change solutions through the concepts and practices of Zero Waste. We believe in individual and community action to transform society’s throw-away ethic into environmentally-responsible stewardship.
Earth Guardians A tribe of young activists, artists and musicians from across the globe stepping up as leaders and co-creating the future we know is possible.
Empower Our Future Empower Our Future’s mission is to move forward on a path to a 21st century utility that prioritizes innovation, local economic development, sustainability. Simply put, we are working to ensure that Boulder achieves 100% renewable energy by 2030 (or darn close).
Fariview High Net Zero Club The Net Zero Environmental Club at Fairview High School aims to create a greener school for the students and faculty, as well as set an example for other schools that are striving to make their schools more environmentally friendly.
Inside the Greenhouse A collective of professors, students, scholars, practitioners who are committed to creative framing and storytelling of issues surrounding climate change through video, theatre, dance, and writing, to connect a wider audience to the deep and pressing need to address climate change.
Learn More About Climate LMAC connects climate change experts with our local communities by providing classroom visits from climate scientists and experts, producing informative videos, creating curriculum addressing climate change topics, and collaborating with communities and school districts to support activities that explore climate change topics
Nature Conservancy The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Our vision is a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives.
New Era Colorado New Era Colorado Foundation is an innovative vehicle for hands-on democracy. We engage, educate, and train a new generation of active citizens and young leaders in Colorado.
Renewable Yes Citizens for Boulder’s Clean Energy Future (CBCEF), creators of the website, is a concerned volunteer citizen group working to support ballot measures 2B and 2C.
Shanahan Neighbors for Climate Action SNCA is a grassroots neighborhood organization dedicated to creating a strongly connected community working together to foster a sustainable future.
Sierra Club: Rocky Mountain Chapter Founded by legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is now the nation's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization -- with more than two million members and supporters.
Slow Money Slow Money is a new way to invest. And it’s a movement. Slow Money local networks and investment clubs are forming in scores of communities across the US, Canada, and France. We’re sharing, learning and building local food systems together
Sustainable Colorado The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado (the Alliance) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming sustainability from vision to reality. We envision a Colorado where connected, empowered, and sustainable communities have fulfilled their potential economically, environmentally, and socially.
Western Resource Advocates Founded in 1989, Western Resource Advocates is dedicated to protecting the West’s land, air, and water. We use law, science, and economics to craft innovative solutions to the most pressing conservation issues in the region.
350 Colorado 350 Colorado formed as an independent state affiliate of, a global organization building a movement to solve the climate crisis.

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