Fort Collins City Council Approves a Climate Emergency Resolution

Updated on August 22, 2019

The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) and Extinction Rebellion Fort Collins (XR FC) introduced a Climate Emergency Resolution to the Fort Collins City Council at its meeting on July 2nd. That evening, City Council directed staff to prepare a resolution using the FCSG and XR FC resolution as a starting point for a subsequent Council vote. Staff released its version of the resolution on August 8th. Council voted on that resolution – including a number of amendments proposed by the FCSG and XR FC to bring the resolution into better alignment with the original version– on August 20th. The amended resolution was approved unanimously (7-0), to the surprise of many of us.

Our original resolution, our proposed edits to staff’s version of the resolution, and the final version approved by Council are attached.

The modifications proposed by the FCSG and XR FC to Staff’s version of the Climate Emergency Resolution are as follow:

Climate Crisis Demands Both Mitigation and Adaptation

Published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan on June 18, 2019

Larimer County Commissioner John Kefalas is to be commended for recognizing that we are in a climate crisis (“Climate crisis demands planning and resiliency”, May 30th, 2019). As Kefalas points out, Colorado’s average temperature has increased by 2 degrees F in the past 30 years, and is projected to increase another 2.5 to 5 degrees F by 2050. In this context, it is welcome news that Larimer County’s proposed 20-year Comprehensive Plan incorporates actions to increase community resilience.

However, Kefalas is not correct to say that today’s extreme weather is the “new normal.” If we continue on our business as usual path, the temperature will keep rising even after 2050. In fact, under business as usual, Colorado’s average temperature will increase by a whopping 10 degrees F by the end of this century, and today's extreme weather may look downright tame in comparison.

Colorado Should Set Bold Climate Change Goals

Published in the Colorado Independent on April 2, 2019

The Colorado General Assembly soon will consider establishing additional climate goals for our state. The bill, HB19-1261, would set goals of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a 90% emissions reduction by 2050, both compared to 2005 levels. The bill also reaffirms the goal set by Gov. John Hickenlooper before he left office: a 26% emissions reduction by 2025.

While the new goals might sound ambitious, the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) is calling for the 2030 goal to be strengthened – instead of 50% reduction by 2030, the CCLC seeks a 63% reduction by then. This higher benchmark aligns with the best available science and would offer a better-than-even chance of limiting the average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degree Fahrenheit) across the globe, if extended worldwide.

Reflections on the Notion of Sustainability

Since its inception in 2005, the Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) has focused on local climate policy. More specifically, we have advocated for City initiatives that would both reduce our community’s greenhouse gas emissions and help our community adapt to climate change. For a detailed history of the work in which we have been engaged, see “The FCSG Story” here: http://fcsg.fccan.org/ObjectivesandGoals.

We subscribe to a notion of sustainability aligned with that set forth in the 1987 Brundtland Report, which states that “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” There are numerous examples of past societies that have functioned on a sustainable basis, including many of those in the Americas prior to European contact. However, we recognize that present generations are currently close to crossing at least eight planetary boundaries in addition to catastrophic climate change that would endanger future generations (1). Those other boundaries are:

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