Climate Action Plan Rebranding

 Statement posted on November 17, 2016 

In August of this year, City Manager Darin Atteberry announced that the City of Fort Collins would be rebranding its successful seventeen year old Climate Action Plan. He wrote that this was necessary because of concerns about costs and the “value laden or confusing ‘climate’ aspects of the name.” 

The City’s 2015 Climate Action Plan Framework received national and international recognition as a serious effort to address perhaps the most significant environmental crisis humanity has ever faced. Not only can Fort Collins show other cities the way forward in addressing the climate crisis, it can do this while realizing enormous economic benefits by reducing and ultimately eliminating its reliance on fossil fuels. According to the City’s own analysis, the Climate Action Plan will save Fort Collins residents and businesses between $800 Million and $2.2 Billion more than the Plan will cost by 2040, and those savings will grow exponentially after that. 

The City has provisionally adopted the slogan “Road to 2020: Forging Our Efficient Future.” The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) believes this slogan is inadequate because: 

1. It says nothing about the climate crisis that drives the need for action. 

2. It says nothing about the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

3. It says nothing about the 2030 and 2050 goals adopted by the City – 80% GHG emissions reductions and net zero carbon emissions, respectively – which are far more ambitious than the 2020 goal. 

From a branding standpoint, “The Road to 2020” is ineffective – it fails to captivate, lacks any sense of urgency, and falsely suggests that 2020 is the singular target date of concern. If the City is going to rebrand, it needs to do it in a way that strengthens the messaging and commitment to its Climate Action Plan. Toward that end, we offer the following alternative slogans: 

1. Road to Carbon Neutrality 

2. Road to Net Zero Carbon Emissions 

3. Road to Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

4. Road to Climate Protection 

5. Road to a Livable Climate 

We support messaging that emphasizes the many economic benefits of the City’s Climate Action Plan. However, we are utterly opposed to messaging that ignores the urgent need to protect the Earth’s climate. 

Author: Rick Casey

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