Say hello to Colorado Communities for Climate Action

West Fork Fire June 20, 2013 photo the Pike Hot Shots Wildfire Today
West Fork Fire June 20, 2013 photo the Pike Hot Shots Wildfire Today

Here’s the release from Colorado Communities for Climate Action (Stephen Saunders):

Nine Colorado communities, from large to small and east to west, have banded together to push for more action to tackle climate change at the state and federal levels. Colorado Communities for Climate Action (CC4CA) is this state’s first consortium to represent municipalities and counties in advocating state and federal actions providing the authorities, tools, and policy frameworks that communities need to reduce heat-trapping emissions enough to meet local climate-protection goals and help stabilize our climate.

The nine local governments serving as the founding members of CC4CA are Boulder County, the City of Fort Collins, the City of Boulder, Eagle County, the City of Golden, Pitkin County, San Miguel County, the City of Aspen, and the Town of Vail. On the day of its launch, the coalition already represents one-ninth of all Coloradans. Other local governments are considering joining the coalition, and those numbers are expected to grow.

Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones said, “Colorado has so much at risk from extreme weather, drought, and wildfires that we need to do more at every level of government to protect our public health and safety, environment, and quality of life. This new coalition will unite the voices of counties, cities, and towns to bring about the policies and support we need from the state and federal government so we can take care of our local communities and local residents.”

Jackie Kozak Thiel, chief sustainability officer for the City of Fort Collins, said, “Fort Collins has some of the nation’s most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals in the country, and we will be more successful as a region with state and federal support. We can make a difference to build resiliency in our communities if we collaborate to align action and policies, as well as share best practices with other jurisdictions and learn from each other.”

Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones said, ““The best way for local governments to achieve change at the state and federal levels is to work collectively to promote a shared policy agenda. supported by many communities. This type of collaboration provides much greater influence than any of our individual governments would have on our own.”

Eagle County Commissioner and board chair Jeanne McQueeney said, “At the local level, we need a better, more effective framework of state and federal climate policies that support our efforts. Our local climate actions should be part of a coordinated, overall approach to climate change.”

CC4CA is guided by a steering committee comprised of representatives of member local governments and administered by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, a nonprofit group with 12 years of experience working with Colorado local governments on climate change policy. The coalition has retained Frontline Public Affairs to represent it before the General Assembly and other state and federal offices, and is reviewing proposals from law firms to represent it before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

The coalition’s website is http://www.cc4ca.org.

From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

Colorado leaders from Fort Collins, Boulder, Vail, Golden, Aspen and four counties feeling impacts of climate change formed a political bloc this week to prod state and federal governments to act more aggressively to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases.

The locals demand swifter implementation of a national Clean Power Plan, better public transit, denser housing that discourages driving, cleaner sources of electricity, tougher vehicle miles-per-gallon standards and bigger paybacks for residents who switch to electric vehicles.

“Colorado has so much at risk from extreme weather, drought and wildfires that we need to do more at every level of government to protect our public health and safety, environment and quality of life,” Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones said.

The launch of Colorado Communities for Climate Action (CC4CA) reflects rising local concerns about the greenhouse gases that scientists link to global warming. Colorado has faced increasingly ruinous wildfires, floods, forest die-offs, heat waves and water supply challenges as snowfall shifts to rain.

Particularly in snow-dependent resorts, elected officials say they’re hearing more from residents bracing for economic consequences.

“We’re really worried about the effects of warming on the ski industry. We think this is going to change the ski industry for the worse,” said Pitkin County Commissioner Steve Child, a CC4CA steering committee member. “We need to address climate change any way we can.”

The nine bloc members hired a lobbying firm to pressure state lawmakers and engage state agencies. They plan to hire a lawyer to represent local interests before the Public Utilities Commission, which decides matters such as how much homeowners can benefit by installing solar panels.

More cities will join, said Stephen Saunders, president of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, a nonprofit supporting the bloc. CC4CA members aim to communicate more with the governor to ensure an aggressive state policy, Saunders said.

Decision-making is based on consensus, and members are planning a retreat to hash out a strategy. While climate change results from global processes, members said, locals feel the impact and may be most able to slow climate change.

“The real levers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are at the local level. We do the land use, the transportation,” said Jackie Kozak Thiel, chief sustainability officer for Fort Collins.

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