BY ELLIE BIRD
On Friday, April 16, 2010, Boulder is holding an Inaugural Community Climate Action Summit. The purpose is to engage organizations from throughout the community and across Boulder County in a conversation about achieving community climate goals. To date, Boulder’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) has worked in partnership with Xcel Energy, Boulder County, local nonprofits and community volunteers to keep roughly 81,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. In 2002, the Boulder City Council passed a resolution committing the city to achieving the targets established by the Kyoto Protocol. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2010. In 2006, Boulder passed the country’s first-ever carbon tax. Strategies focus on improving energy efficiency and conservation in homes and businesses and reduce emissions from transportation. To meet the goal, we must reduce green house gas emissions by more than 400,000 metric tons by 2012. Boulder’s Climate Action Plan defines six key strategy areas to address greenhouse gas emissions; reduce use (retrofit existing buildings and replace appliances to improve energy efficiency and promote energy-conserving behavior), build better (maximize opportunities for energy efficiency in new buildings), ramp up renewables (promote use of renewable energy sources for individual buildings and sites and increase renewable sources in our regional energy supply), travel wise (increase the percentage of trips made by transit, bike and walking and encourage the use of low-emission vehicles), waste not (reduce and eventually eliminate the amount of waste going to landfills), and grow green (plant more trees and protect the existing urban forest). Though progress has been made in each of these areas, projections must be updated annually and programs will be monitored and modified as needed to continue progress toward our goal. At the meeting on April 16th discussions will revolve around what has been accomplished to date, how to proceed with remaining items, and how to improve coordination and communication in the future. The meeting has hopes of bringing Boulder community groups, active organizations, business leaders and the broader community together around a common goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They strive to identify solutions and opportunities to leverage actions and resources to maximize impacts and to define specific actions and priorities for future events. As inspired community members, this is a significant opportunity to get informed and involved with Boulder’s progress in achieving community climate goals.