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Boulder's Climate Commitment

Our Goals

Wind Turbine in Field

Municipal Building

Power Plant with Steam

100% Renewable Electricity   by 2030

 80% City Organization    Emissions Reduction by 2030 

100 MW of Local    Renewable Generation by 2030

80% Community    Emissions Reduction by 2050


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Boulder's Climate Commitment

climate commitment cover  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!

The strategic framework laid out in the Climate Commitment pdf guides the city's climate work in three action areas: energy, ecosystems and resources. Rising to the climate challenge will require long-term action in all three area and work is underway! Learn more on the Climate Commitment page.




Boulder's Climate Goals and Progress

​These goals were adopted on Dec. 7, 2016 by Boulder City Council. The Climate Commitment pdf document guides city action on climate to achieve these goals; however, community climate action is also an essential component to reaching them.

Visit our Boulder Measures page to track our progress on our community emissions and city organizations emissions goals. 

In 2017, the community has successfully reduced emissions 16 percent below 2005 levels.  Boulder has achieved its 2020 GHG emissions reduction target three years early and, even more noteworthy, has done so during a time of economic and population growth in the city.While this is an achievement worth celebrating, closing the gap to an 80 percent reduction in communitywide emissions by the year 2050 remains a daunting goal. 

Going forward, the community must reduce its emissions by ~2.6 percent annually to meet its 2030 goal. This will require a combination of  increasing renewable energy (on rooftops and on the grid), substantially electrifying vehicles and buildings, driving less and reducing energy use and waste generation.



Take Action

Looking to take action on climate in your household? These four actions—maximizing your energy efficiency, powering your life with renewable energy, electrifying your heating and cooling and clean transportation-- really add up and make a difference. Ready to make a move? We have resources to help!

Check out our Actions with Impact  page for more information about each action and available incentives, advising and resources.


Boulder.Earth Community Website

The Boulder.Earth website is a partnership between the city and local nonprofits to inspire community climate action. 

The site features:

  • A calendar,
  • A rotating list of actions
  • A directory of organizations
  • Jobs and volunteer opportunities
  • Storytelling from across Boulder and beyond. 



Climate Accountability Litigation

On April 17, the city, in partnership with Boulder County and San Miguel County filed a lawsuit against two oil companies operating in Colorado. 

Climate change affects fragile high-altitude ecosystems and hits at the heart of these communities’ local economies, affecting roads and bridges, parks and forests, buildings, farming and agriculture, the ski industry, and public open space. Adapting to such a wide range of impacts requires local governments to undertake unprecedented levels of planning and spending. Over the next three decades, these communities will face at least one hundred million dollars in costs to deal with the impacts of climate change caused by the use of fossil fuel products like those made and sold by Suncor and Exxon.

Learn more about the lawsuit by watching a video overview as well as visiting Boulder County's webpage.



Partnership Spotlight

carbon neutral cities alliance badge Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance

Did you know? Boulder is a part of the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA), a global collaboration of 20 cities who are committed to cutting emissions by 80 percent or more by 2050 or sooner. Being a part of this cohort allows Boulder to collaborate and share lessons in deep carbon reduction best practices with other progressive cities around the world.

Visit Boulder's profile on the CNCA website to get a snapshot of Boulder's emissions reduction targets as well as other sustainability initiatives. 



Contact us

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


Steve Catanach

Director, Climate Initiatives

Brett KenCairn
Senior Environmental Planner

Kendra Tupper
Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer

Jonathan Koehn
Regional Sustainability Coordinator

Chris Hagelin
Senior Transportation Planner


Upcoming City Events

Stay tuned for opportunities to engage in 2019!

City Climate and Energy Programs and Projects

Boulder Building Performance An ordinance to reduce energy use and improve the quality of Boulder’s commercial and industrial building stock by requiring rating and reporting (R&R) and energy efficiency measures.

Boulder Energy Challenge A grant program to foster innovative solutions from the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Boulder's Energy Future:   The city's long-term effort to create a municipal electric utility in order to democratize, decarbonize and decentralize electricity in Boulder. 

Boulder Solar Tool An interactive online tool that illustrates the solar potential of individual buildings and supports community investments in solar power.

Climate + Sustainability Department :  The department home page for climate and sustainability programs.

Collaborations in 2017: Regional, National and International A document of Boulder's regional, national and international collaborations on legislative and regulatory issues, as well as technical and working group collaborations for 2017.

CU Energy Green Team A collaborative program with the University of Colorado Environmental Center to foster peer-to-peer education  in student-heavy neighborhoods about energy efficiency and Boulder's energy goals. 

Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations An overview of electric vehicle incentives and charging options around Boulder.  

Energy Conservation Code Energy and sustainability code requirements for new construction, additions and building renovations.

Energy loans from Elevations Credit Union Low interest loans to make energy upgrades for your home or business.

EnergySmart A program that provides free and discounted energy efficiency advising services and rebates to residents and businesses.

Greenhouse Gas Inventory:   A community inventory of Boulder's greenhouse gas emissions.

Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) A business sustainability advising service that provides free technical support to Boulder businesses and helps them achieve their sustainability goals.

Resilient Boulder:   City strategy and programs to prepare for and respond effectively to stress such as flood, wildfires, violence or illness. 

SmartRegs A series of ordinances that supports tenant comfort and reduced energy waste by requiring all rental housing to meet a basic energy efficiency standard by Dec. 31, 2018.

Solar Resources:  Information on solar in Boulder.

Solar Grant and Rebate Programs Programs that support Boulder residents, businesses and nonprofits in financing solar power installations at their homes, businesses and facilities.

Zero Waste:  Programs and policies to reduce waste in Boulder, including the Universal Zero Waste Ordinance, which requires composting and recycling throughout our community.

History of Climate Action in Boulder

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 Climate Action Plan tax, the country's first voter approved tax dedicated to addressing climate change, 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. 

In Dec. 2016, Boulder City Council adopted the Climate Commitment and its associated goals of an 80 percent reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2050; 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030; and 80 percent reduction in organization greenhouse gas emissions below 2008 levels by 2030. The goals and their related sub-milestones are the city’s first since the expiration of the city’s previous climate action goal in 2012.

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