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Gregg W. Thomas Denver Department of Environmental Health Colorado Bar Association - Environmental Law Section November 15, 2011 C limate hangehange 612.

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Presentation on theme: "Gregg W. Thomas Denver Department of Environmental Health Colorado Bar Association - Environmental Law Section November 15, 2011 C limate hangehange 612."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gregg W. Thomas Denver Department of Environmental Health Colorado Bar Association - Environmental Law Section November 15, 2011 C limate hangehange 612 Addressing Climate Change at the Local Level: Why Denver (and other Municipalities) are Leading the Way to Mitigate and Adapt to a Changing Future

2 Overview A bit about the science Denver GHG Inventory and Climate Action Plan Denver Energy Challenge Are we making progress? Strategies available to achieve goals Voluntary vs regulatory strategies

3 Global Temperature Trends Source: Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study http://berkeleyearth.org/analysis.php

4 Winter 2010 Vs. Long-Term Baseline

5 Global Temperatures 1880-2010 5-year mean anomalies relative to 1951-1980 mean

6 Western US Temperature Trends Source: Rocky Mtn Climate Organization and NRDC: “Hotter and Drier: The West’s Changing Climate” http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/west/contents.asp www.greenprintdenver.org

7 Seeing is Believing…or Why I Care 2009 Bengston Photo USGS Source: USGS Repeat Photography Project http://nrmsc.usgs.gov/repeatphoto/

8 Future Projections CO 2 and Temps Source: Frank Princiotta, US EPA Presentation at EPA/AWMA Information Exchange, Dec 2007 3oC3oC 3oC3oC 2oC2oC 1oC1oC Predicted Temp Change

9 CO 2 Trends Mauna Loa, Hawaii Source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Rahmstorf_etal.pdf Monthly carbon dioxide concentration (blue thin line) and its long term trend (strong blue line) as measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Dashed line is IPCC's projected carbon dioxide levels.

10 U.S. R&D Budgets

11 2005 Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Denver Per Capita emissions = 23.6 mtCO2e / person Source: “Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the City and County of Denver” at http://www.greenprintdenver.org/docs/Denver_GHG_Inventory_Report.pdf

12 Leadership is Required Developed and developing countries must come together on this issue In the U.S., federal government support is needed (policies, research/R&D) State and local governments have taken the lead on GHG mitigation strategies (in U.S.) Multi-national corporations are seriously addressing GHG emissions Overlooked is the power of the individual to reduce GHG emissions

13 City-Scale Climate Actions are Crucial US Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement –Over 1000+ signatories in 2009 Cities becoming increasingly important for sustainability policy and climate reduction strategies –80% of population in urban areas –Local actions greatly influence land use and transportation policies –State and federal support needed

14 Denver Climate Action Plan Developed to achieve goal of 10% per capita reduction in GHG emissions by 2012 –2020 goal: At or below 1990 levels (~25% reduction) Diverse combination of strategies City government actions alone will barely make a dent Need for partnerships in order to implement –Businesses, associations, lending institutions –Residents –Non-profits

15 Neighborhood Energy Action Partnership (NEAP) Started meeting in 2008 to address residential mitigation strategies Local agencies (enviro + econ dev), Governor’s Energy Office, non-profits (Groundwork Denver, Mile High Youth Corps, Sun Power) Non-profits funded by local and state 29 lower income neighborhoods targeted for energy blitzes over 5 years Started prior to federal stimulus (ARRA)

16 The Faces of NEAP

17 Neighborhood Energy Action Partnership (NEAP) 2009 ARRA changed things drastically NEAP neighborhood targets could be met Even though addt’l money to weatherize, challenge is increasing participation rates –Voluntary programs ~1% participation What options are most effective?

18 Successes and Challenges 2009 was a success but it was a learning year Good partnerships started Don’t underestimate political dynamics Secured additional $5M+ in competitive grants City buildings made more efficient ($$) Time to rebrand and relaunch Denver Energy Challenge Small business and residential programs

19 Denver Energy Challenge Brought together commercial and residential programs under one brand Bottom line: sweeten incentives to both sectors to improve energy efficiency Free, no-cost energy advisor at your service Start with low hanging fruit There are bushels full of it Lighting a great example – phase outs Improve the bottom line Visit DenverEnergy.org

20 Recognition of Businesses ~500 participants to date 170+ projects completed 200+ more in progress Over 4.5 million kWh saved

21 Are We Making Progress?

22 Next Steps On the book controls have us on the right path – CACJA and 30% RPS Probably won’t get us all the way there Fewer but better mitigation strategies Need to address existing building stock Especially true beyond 2020 Takes time to see penetration Build business model in advance of grant funds expiring (2013)

23 Summary Weather and climate are not the same Climate Action Plan has put Denver on purposeful path to sustainability (or vice versa) and GHG reductions Mitigation and (not versus) adaptation strategies are required Denver developing Climate Resiliency Plan in 2012 Individual actions make a difference – NOW Small businesses need help and produce great returns

24 Our Hellish Future… Potential Drought Severity Index Based on 22 climate models and current emissions projections http://www2.ucar.edu/news/2904/climate-change-drought-may-threaten-much-globe-within-decades

25 Our Stakeholders Depend on Us

26 Contact Us gregg.thomas@denvergov.org www.DenverEnergy.org www.greenprintdenver.org


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