Statement on Fort Collins CAP 2020 Strategic Plan Update

Statement posted on March 9, 2016 

The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) commends Fort Collins City staff for developing three potential pathways capable of achieving the City’s 2020 goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 20% compared to 2005 levels. We also commend City staff for identifying seven “shovel ready” initiatives that could be implemented immediately to get Fort Collins back on track toward reaching that goal, which was first adopted in 2008. 

The three potential pathways presented in the March 10th Work Session Item are based on a total of 31 initiatives that were developed by staff over the past several months. Those pathways are: 

1. The “Accelerated Pathway,” which includes the 13 initiatives that have the largest impact on reducing GHG emissions by 2020, 

2. The “Cost Effective – 2020 Pathway,” which includes the 17 initiatives that would (nearly) reach the 2020 goal for the least gross cost to the City and community, and 

3. The “Cost Effective – 2050 Pathway,” which includes the 23 initiatives that would reach the 2020 goal while maximizing emissions reductions by 2050 at the least gross cost to the City and community. 

The second two pathways were determined by sorting all measures by gross cost per ton of equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2e) emissions reductions to the City and community for 2020 and 2050, respectively. The gross cost per ton does not include the cost savings that we would realize by implementing those initiatives. Those savings are substantial in some cases, and should certainly be taken into account. The FCSG would therefore like to see two additional pathways prepared: 

1. A pathway based on sorting by NET cost of CO2e emissions reductions for 2020, and 

2. A pathway based on sorting by NET cost of CO2e emissions reductions for 2050. 

City Council should consider the resulting five potential pathways as it decides which initiatives to fund in the 2017-18 biennial budget later this year. 

In the short term, the FCSG would like to see the following “shovel ready” items fully funded in 2016: the four energy efficiency initiatives (base and expanded home and business), building energy disclosure, and the three support initiatives. The energy efficiency initiatives are included in all three potential pathways provided for meeting the 2020 goal. Building energy disclosure is shown to have a significant impact by 2050, and the three support initiatives are important for getting the entire CAP implementation effort off the ground. The total cost of these items is $1,383,000, which should easily be covered by current reserves. We are neutral on whether the remaining two “shovel ready” initiatives (Rooftop Solar Incentives and Municipal Green Waste Sites) should be funded this year. They are relatively costly, and it may make sense to select a pathway before deciding whether or not to fund these two items. 

Given that community-wide GHG emissions in 2014 were only 2.5% below the 2005 baseline, it is important that Council act decisively to get Fort Collins back on track to meeting its 2020 goal. We urge Council to ask staff to prepare an appropriation ordinance as soon as possible to implement the “shovel ready” initiatives identified above. And we also urge Council members to consider the net costs – which include return on investment – of all CAP-related initiatives presented by staff when deciding what to include in the 2017-18 biennial budget. 

Author: Rick Casey

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