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Climate Protection

Physical Address: 215 N Mason St, Fort Collins, CO 80524
Mailing Address: PO Box 580, Ft. Collins, CO 80522-0580
Phone: (970) 221-6600
Fax: (970) 224-6177
Email: 8AM-5PM M-F

Current Features

Fort Collins Greenhouse Gas Goal Alternatives

On February 11, City Council will discuss Greenhouse Gas goal alternatives. No action will be taken - Council will provide direction to inform the upcoming Climate Action Plan, or CAP, update. Full cost-benefit analyses will be conducted on scenarios as part of the CAP update that is anticipated to go to City Council in late 2014.

Triple Bottom Line Sustainability Assessment: See the draft Sustainability Assessment on the question of whether Fort Collins should adopt more aggressive Greenhouse Gas goals.

See the assessment of greenhouse gas goal alternatives prepared by Brendle Group to sketch out preliminary pathways for achieving alternatives

See the Fort Collins Energy Report completed by the Rocky Mountain Institute to answer the questions "How far?" and "How fast?" Could Fort Collins accelerate greenhouse gas reduction?

Comments sought

Comments are welcome, including feedback on these questions:

1. Do you have a preferred greenhouse gas goal for the community?

2. Which aspects should be especially emphasized in climate action planning?

  • Collaboration
  • Community leadership
  • Consider future cost of carbon
  • Cost management
  • Innovation
  • Maximize other benefits
  • Risk mitigation

3. Are any major issues missing from the "Sustainability Assessment"?

Contact Lucinda Smith, Director, Department of Environmental Services, at or (970) 224-6085.

Greenhouse Gas Goal Alternatives

Alternative A: 80 percent below 2005 by 2050 (Keep current long-term goal)

This alternative includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below the 2005 baseline by 2050. This represents the current City of Fort Collins goal as well as the State of Colorado goal. For context, a straight-line interpolation between 2005 and 2050 would require a 27 percent reduction below 2005 by 2020. This 2050 goal is the same as the current goal adopted by Portland, Ore.; York, England; and Madison, Wis., among others.

Alternative B: Carbon Neutral by 2050

This alternative would achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The straight-line interpolation is 33 percent reduction by 2020, for context.  Seattle, Wash.; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Melbourne, Australia have adopted goals for carbon neutrality by 2050.

Alternative C: 80 percent below 2005 by 2030 (Accelerate current goal by 20 years)

This alternative includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below the 2005 baseline by 2030. The straight-line interpolation is an interim milestone of 48 percent reduction by 2020. This alternative reflects the scenario presented in a recent white paper developed by the Rocky Mountain Institute that identifies “How far?” and “How fast?” could Fort Collins move towards a prosperous, secure and clean energy future.

Similarities Among Alternatives

Together, the analyses reveal that there are many important similarities between the alternative long-term GHG reduction vision options for Fort Collins.

  • All ambitious
  • All will go beyond simple efficiency and into significant changes to energy supply
  • All will require community buy-in to achieve
  • All require near-term investments
  • All deliver net economic savings by 2050

Difference Among Alternatives

The differences among the alternatives have to do more with opportunities to make leadership statements, the rate of investment and associated paybacks, and the sequencing of strategies employed.

  • Leadership positioning
  • Innovation opportunity
  • Cost impacts
  • Rate of investments and paybacks
  • Possible use of (local) carbon offsets


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Public Input from Community Carbon Goal Forum

On October 21, the City kicked off community dialogue on future carbon goals for the community. Sixty-five people attended the forum.
See presentation
See handout
See written notes
See video

Sample public comments included:

  • Involve young people
  • Recognize the important role of land use and regional cooperation
  • Stronger goals needed
  • Accountability important
  • Too much focus on measurement may limit scope and innovation
  • Leadership is more important than actual numbers
  • Focus nearer term, with more knowns

For more information, please contact Lucinda Smith (City of Fort Collins Director of Environmental Services) at 970-224-6085 or by email at .

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Fort Collins 2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Drop 8.7% from 2005

Climate change poses a real and serious threat to the world at large and to the quality of life that we value in Fort Collins. Climate change can affect us locally in many ways including contributing to more frequent and severe storms, increasing drought and risk of forest fires, and changes in the timing and amount of spring runoff.

Over a decade ago Fort Collins was among the first wave of communities in the nation to commit to reducing local greenhouse emissions.  

Through innovation, leadership and local involvement, the community has benefited significantly from climate protection actions. Today, thanks to the efforts of the entire community, we have changed the trajectory of the emission growth curve.

Read the Full Report (pdf).

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2013 Community and Municipal GHG Emissions Inventory Quality Management Plans Now Available

The City has compiled the 2012 inventories of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for the community and municipal operations. The detailed methodologies in these reference documents were developed to provide complete data transparency, and provide quality assurance and quality control procedures to ensure data integrity for the City’s annual Community and Municipal GHG Emissions Inventories. 

Fort Collins Communitywide Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals

Resolution 2008-051 (PDF 115KB) adopted by City Council in May 2008 establishes two greenhouse gas goals for the Fort Collins community, and one near-term “intent” to reduce emissions. The two goals are identical to statewide goals set for Colorado.


  • Reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 20% below 2005 levels by 2020
  • Reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 2005 levels by 2050

2012 Intent

  • Reduce community greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2012 to a level comparable to 3% below 2005 levels.
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2008 Climate Action Plan

On December 2, 2008, City Council adopted by resolution, the 2008 Climate Action Plan. The Plan provides a blueprint for making progress on Fort Collins' greenhouse gas reduction goals while advancing multiple other City objectives.

Adoption of the Plan by resolution does not commit the City to any new resources or funding, or create any new laws at this time. All actions in the Plan that require Council approval will be considered by Council in the future, along with detailed cost and benefit information. The 2008 Climate Action Plan provides an important unifying framework for Fort Collins to lead in the burgeoning new energy economy and to advance the economic and environmental sustainability of our community.

2009 Energy Policy

One of the primary goals of the 2009 Energy Policy is to support the community’s carbon emissions goal of reducing the City’s carbon footprint 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Other primary goals are to provide highly reliable electric service, to enhance local economic health and to continue collaboration with Platte River Power Authority and member cities.

More »

Climate Task Force and Draft Climate Action Plan

After a year of evaluating strategies and considering cost-effectiveness, the Climate Task Force completed its recommendations (PDF 1.3MB) in June 2008. Following subsequent input from City Council, boards and city staff, a Draft Climate Action Plan (PDF 1.3MB) was developed. A Proposed Addendum (PDF 128KB) was developed in response to City Council's interest in considering a Plan that would fully achieve the 2012 and 2020 greenhouse gas reduction objectives, if fully implemented. On December 12, 2008, City Council adopted by resolution the Climate Action Plan but not the Proposed Addendum.

Why is Fort Collins Interested in Climate Protection?

Climate change poses a real and serious threat to the world at large and to the quality of life that we value in Fort Collins.  Climate change can affect us locally in many ways including contributing to more frequent and severe storms, increasing drought and risk of forest fires, and changes in the timing and amount of spring runoff.

For more information:

Joint Front Range Climate Change Vulnerability Study
Hotter and Driers; the West’s Changed Climate (2008)(PDF) 
Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Colorado (2008)(PDF)

In choosing to embrace climate protection, Fort Collins has adopted the "No Regrets" approach already adopted by localities and corporations around the world. This approach that entails making economically sound choices to curb greenhouse gas emissions, while providing multiple benefits to the community and support for existing community goals.