There is increasing scientific evidence that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere are exerting a profound effect on the Earth’s climate: increasing extreme weather events, changing rainfall and crop productivity patterns, and fueling the migration of infectious diseases.
Boulder County is committed to addressing global climate change at the local level. The county has completed the following actions to demonstrate this commitment and contribute to informed decision making:
- Conducted a Greenhouse Gas Inventory in 2006 to identify the main emission sources.
- Updated the Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Sustainable Energy Plan Analysis in 2012.
- Completed a Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Report in 2007 to identify the most promising opportunities to reduce emissions.
Approved by resolution the Sustainable Energy Plan (SEP) in 2008, which all cities and towns in Boulder County also adopted. The SEP identifies 20 key strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 11% below 1990 levels by 2020. With this plan, the county set out to implement actions to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Adopted a Climate Change Preparedness Plan in 2012 to help Boulder County and its communities become resilient to the anticipated effects of climate change.
Impacts of Climate Change in Colorado
The direct effects of global warming on our quality of life in Colorado are a real cause for concern. (See Why Does Climate Change Matter?)
According to the University of Colorado Boulder Research Center, local effects of global warming may include:
- Hotter summers.
- Warmer winters, with a thinner snow‐pack and earlier spring runoff.
- More precipitation falling as rain than snow.
- Longer periods of drought.
- More wildfires, burning twice as many acres each year as before 1980.
- Widespread beetle infestations wiping out pine forests, and die‐off in aspen stands.
- Water Shortages – Colorado’s precipitation has decreased 20% in the last century, and water supplies are already stretched thin. The mountain snowpack serves as a natural reservoir. Less snow, melting earlier, could leave Boulder County with less water during hotter summers.
- Health Problems – An increase in summer temperature increases the formation of ozone. Ozone can affect human health by reducing lung function, aggravating asthma, and causing permanent lung damage in children and adults.
To slow climate change, we can all take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Boulder County is committed to finding ways to meet our growing energy demand while protecting the environment and maintaining economic vitality and vibrant communities. We are also committed to making sure that our residents have the information and resources necessary to use less energy, save money and make the best possible energy choices. This includes knowing how to pick the most energy efficient products and appliances, improve the efficiency of homes and commercial buildings, use alternative transportation and much more.