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News Archive

July 24, 2019

Commissioners issue proclamation declaring a Climate Emergency

Boulder County joins hundreds of jurisdictions in declaring a climate emergency


Boulder County, Colo. - The Boulder County Board of County Commissioners joined hundreds of local, state, and national leaders in declaring a climate emergency on July 23, 2019. According to the non-profit advocacy organization The Climate Mobilization, more than 815 jurisdictions in 16 countries have issued similar climate emergency declarations.

Read the full proclamation as a PDF or at the bottom of this release.

Human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases are impacting Earth’s climactic system, causing unprecedented, large-scale, adverse health, social, economic, financial, security, and ecological effects. Restoring a safe and stable climate requires an emergency to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors.

In April 2016, world leaders from 175 countries recognized the threat of climate change and the urgent need to combat it by signing the Paris Agreement, agreeing to keep warming “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.” Boulder County, in June 2017, joined hundreds of local governments, more than a 1,000 businesses and investors, as well as roughly 200 universities and colleges, to honor and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement goals.

Recent analyses have expanded our knowledge of the impacts of climate change for Boulder County and its residents. Boulder County and other Colorado communities are already experiencing the impacts of a warming climate in the form of reduced snowpack, earlier snowmelt, increased risk of high intensity wildfires, extreme weather events, and an increased number of “high heat” days. These impacts are already manifesting themselves in the form of wildfires burning twice as much acreage now as they did in 1980, more frequent and more severe flooding such as the devastating 2013 Flood, and an increase in the number of summer days that will reach temperatures of over 95°F.


“We in Boulder County know firsthand the damage that a changing climate brings, be it devastating wildfires, floods, heat waves or droughts.This proclamation is to highlight, again, the urgency and magnitude of this existential crisis and to join with other cities and counties across Colorado, the nation and the world in amplifying a collective call to bold action.”

- Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones

“As we engage in the fight against climate change, we must make sure that no one is left behind. As we have seen in natural disasters here at home and around the world, the most vulnerable populations are the ones who most often bear the harshest impacts of climate change and have the fewest options for mitigating those impacts. As we move forward, we must make sure to apply the framework of a 'Just Transition' and work to create solutions that are ecologically sustainable, equitable, and just for all members of our community.”

- Boulder County Commissioner Deb Gardner

“It’s urgent we act now to address climate change. Fires, floods, droughts and other disasters are only getting worse. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to raise the level of concern over the severity of problems resulting from climate change and to act on their behalf. Additionally, with wind and solar becoming cheaper and cleaner, and with new jobs in these sectors being created every day, we must continue to push for more green technology and energy solutions.”

- Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones


Boulder County has demonstrated leadership in creating initiatives, programs, and policies aimed at reducing the threat of climate change and will continue to prioritize climate and renewable energy efforts. Boulder County is dedicated to deep emissions reduction strategies, adopting goals to achieve climate stabilization aligned with the global objective to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less. To reach this goal, collective community action is needed to drastically reduce communitywide GHG emissions. In addition to reductions goals, Boulder County is also pursuing adaptation and resilience strategies in preparation for intensifying climate impacts.

For more information about Boulder County’s efforts to combat climate change, visit www.bouldercounty.org/climate-action.


A PROCLAMATION ENDORSING THE DECLARATION OF A CLIMATE EMERGENCY

WHEREAS, in April 2016 world leaders from 175 countries recognized the threat of climate change and the urgent need to combat it by signing the Paris Agreement, agreeing to keep warming "well below 2° C above pre-industrial levels" and to "pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C"; and

WHEREAS, the harm already caused by global warming of approximately 1°C demonstrates that the Earth is already too hot, as shown by increased and intensifying wildfires, floods, rising seas, diseases, droughts and extreme weather; and

WHEREAS, in Boulder County these impacts are already manifesting themselves in the form of wildfires burning twice as much acreage now as they did in 1980; more frequent and more severe flooding such as the devastating flood of 2013; and an increase in the number of summer days that will reach temperatures of over 95° F from an average of five between 1970- 1999 to as many as 75 by the end of the 21st century; and

WHEREAS, climate change and the global economy's overshoot of ecological limits are driving the sixth mass extinction of species, which could devastate much of life on Earth for the next 10 million years; and

WHEREAS, the United States of America has disproportionately contributed to the climate and ecological crises and has repeatedly obstructed global efforts to transition toward a sustainable economy, and thus bears an extraordinary responsibility to help address these crises; and

WHEREAS, the risks of climate change are being increasingly recognized by major corporations and financial institutions such as the World Bank, which found that climate change impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030; and

WHEREAS, restoring a safe and stable climate requires mobilization to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, and to implement measures to protect all people and species from the consequences of abrupt climate change; and

WHEREAS, the "Just Transition" is a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all its members; and

WHEREAS, justice requires that frontline communities, which have historically borne the brunt of the extractive fossil-fuel economy, participate actively in the planning and implementation of this mobilization effort; and

WHEREAS, clean energy resources such as solar, wind, and energy efficiency are providing growing numbers of good-paying jobs, and becoming less expensive and highly reliable due to rapid improvements in technology; and

WHEREAS, Boulder County can act as a leader by joining the calls for local, state, and federal governments to undertake a unified just transition and climate emergency mobilization effort;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED BY THE BOARD OF BOULDER COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THAT A CLIMATE EMERGENCY THREATENS OUR COUNTY, REGION, STATE, NATION, AND THE NATURAL WORLD

To support a countywide climate emergency mobilization and just transition effort to reverse global warming, including reducing countywide greenhouse gas emissions 45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and 90% below 2005 levels by 2050, and implementing adaptation and resilience strategies in preparation for intensifying climate impacts, the Board of Boulder County Commissioners hereby proclaim a climate emergency.

APPROVED on the 23rd of July, 2019.