FCSG Statement on Our Climate Future Plan Draft

Posted on February 8th, 2021

The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) has reviewed the “Our Climate Future Update” Item prepared by staff for the Council work session scheduled for February 9th, and has paid particular attention to Attachment 3, i.e. the “Plan Draft.”  We offer the following comments on the Work Session Item.

We applaud the City’s efforts in bringing new voices into the planning process related to climate, energy, and waste reduction by reaching out to people in “historically underrepresented groups” (HUGs) including those who are black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).  We believe that encouraging input from as broad a community cross-section as possible will lead to better planning outcomes than would otherwise be the case.

We are heartened to see that the “next moves”, or specific strategies and tactics, identified during the outreach process and analyzed by staff, are expected to come close to achieving the City’s 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goal of 80% compared to 2005 levels.  We look forward to reviewing the detailed analysis upon which that conclusion is based, and are confident that Fort Collins would be able to close the 5% gap shown on page 12 of 39 of the Plan Draft if it were to implement a “next move” not included in that draft and discussed below.

We note the following deficiencies in the Plan Draft:

  1. There is no mention of Industrial Process and Product Use (IPPU) emissions, although elsewhere in the Work Session Item staff states that these account for 9% of our community’s entire GHG inventory.  These emissions (mainly fluorinated gases) are released by the electronics manufacturer Broadcom.  If a next move were added to cut these emissions in half, the gap referenced previously could be closed, and Fort Collins could meet its 2030 climate goal assuming the other next moves developed by staff are also implemented.
  2. There is no mention of the Climate Emergency Resolution passed by City Council in August of 2019, or the requirement included therein to reevaluate the City’s climate goals every five years, starting in 2021, to ensure that “those goals remain in alignment with ongoing updates to scientific findings regarding climate change.”
  3. There is no discussion of the importance of establishing interim emissions reduction goals on the path to the 2030 goal.  The fact that carbon dioxide and fluorinated gases persist in the atmosphere for very long periods of time means that the sooner we can stop releasing them into the environment, the more effective we will be in doing our part to mitigate the climate emergency.

We urge council to direct staff to address these three deficiencies in the next draft of the Our Climate Future Plan that council will vote on in mid-March.

Finally, while we support the City’s cooperation with “community partners” to help develop the Plan Draft, we find it ironic that the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce was included on that list and that all of the organizations that have been working diligently on climate policy over the past sixteen years or so – including the FCSG – were excluded.  The Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce has not been, to put it bluntly, a good actor in supporting our Community’s internationally recognized science-based climate goals.  To take just one example, the Chamber fought hard against the 2018 100% renewable electricity resolution, which is identified in the Plan Draft as a “critical path next move.”  That resolution was originally written and successfully championed by a coalition in which the FCSG was a key member.  While we hope that the Chamber will become a better advocate for environmental issues in the future, we are disappointed that the City seems reluctant to recognize and give credit to the community organizations that have contributed so significantly to the progress made on our climate, energy, and waste reduction policies to date.

Author: Kevin Cross

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