Dear Mayor Arndt and Councilmembers Gutowsky, Pignataro, Canonico, Peel, Ohlson, and Francis –
We know that you heard the 29 people who asked you during the public comment section of the council meeting on June 21st to establish an interim greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution reduction goal before 2030. We appreciate the fact that a majority of councilmembers seem supportive of establishing an interim goal. We wish to clarify that we believe it is important to put this goal in place before the October 11th work session, i.e. sometime in the third quarter.
We believe that it is important that council establish an interim climate goal in Q3 by resolution for the following two reasons:
- The 2023-24 biennial budget is one of the most significant opportunities this council will have to ensure that the City stays on track to meet its climate goals. Having an interim goal in place well before final approval of the budget will communicate the importance of funding strong, consistent progress toward the 2030 goal in this budget cycle to City staff and to the general public. This is particularly important given the turnover of City staff over the past couple of years. Over the past two decades, our community reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by an average of about 1% per year to successfully meet its 2020 goal. Over the coming decade, our community will need to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 6% per year in order to meet our 2030 goal. This will require a much greater effort than we have made to date. We can’t miss a beat: every year is important, and every biennial budget is doubly important.
- Decisions made by the Platte River Power Authority in the near and medium term will also have a significant influence on the City’s ability to drive down greenhouse gas pollution and improve air quality. An ambitious interim goal will help inform the input our PRPA board representatives provide to other board members and to PRPA management in the coming months about the need to make steady progress toward the PRPA’s 2030 goal of 100% renewable electricity.
Waiting until the October 11th work session to begin discussing an interim climate goal is too late. The first reading of the budget is scheduled for November 1st, which is well before an interim climate goal resolution could be approved by council in that case. Additionally, our understanding is that staff intends to present a series of potential milestones as part of several different “pathways” to the 2030 goal at the October 11th work session. While this is a very important initiative, it does not replace clear direction from council on the importance of making steady progress toward the City’s 2030 goal over the next several years, nor will it send a strong message to the PRPA about the importance of making steady progress toward its 2030 renewable electricity goal.
Passing an interim climate goal resolution in Q3 would help frame the discussion at the October 11th work session by clarifying that whichever detailed pathway toward the 2030 goal is adopted, it needs to include significant GHG pollution reductions early on. According to item 13 of the Council Priorities Dashboard Report, the City should have “updated the OCF tactical plan and evaluated climate goals” by June 30th of this year. Establishing an interim climate goal in the third quarter is an important component of keeping the City’s climate initiatives on track. Therefore, we ask that you direct staff at the end of your meeting on July 5th to bring back an interim GHG emissions reduction resolution, similar to the one the Fort Collins Sustainability Group has submitted to you, for a vote at a council meeting later this summer.
Fort Collins Sustainability Group
P.O. Box 405
Fort Collins, CO 80522
Ph. 970-484-3141 https://focosustainability.org