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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Climate Action Plan (CAP?)

The Climate Action Plan is a document that guides the City’s steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of strategies, such as increasing energy efficiency and clean energy, decreasing the number of miles we travel in a vehicle, and reducing the amount of waste we generate and dispose of in the landfill.

Why does the City care?

As part of its Strategic Plan, the City views virtually all municipal decisions through a sustainability or “triple-bottom line” lens that assesses economic, environmental and social impacts. The City has been committed to climate action since 1999 and has reaffirmed that commitment throughout the past several decades, see below.

What are our goals and why do we think we’ll be able to achieve these goals?

In 2015, City Council approved new aspirational goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2030 with a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. These goals are designed to inspire community-wide innovation, public-private partnerships, and build on our community’s record of emissions reductions.

Fort Collins is exactly the kind of community who can lead on this issue because it not only has strong environmental benefits, but it provides our community with a competitive edge in the growing climate economy. We are a community who not only plans but we also do – think of the undergrounding of our power lines that began over 50 years and is a key success to our electricity reliability today. It’s exactly that kind of can do attitude that will help us achieve these goals.

How is the community doing (toward meeting our goals)?

Since 2005, emissions have decreased 12 percent even while the City’s population grew 23 percent.

What are the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Fort Collins?

The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions is electricity (51% in 2016), followed by ground travel (25%), natural gas (19%), solid waste (4%) and water-related emissions (0.33 %).

What is the cost or investment needed?

Since the goals were adopted, the City has invested an additional $12.1M in achieving the goals, and these investments have been leveraged by an average of $2.30 for every dollar the City organization has invested. Importantly, these investments are already realizing cost savings. For examples, businesses in Fort Collins that have taken advantage of energy efficiency rebates are saving an estimated $9.5M annually on their electricity bills.

In addition to these initial investments, the City is developing a Climate Economy Action Plan to help understand how we can work with the business community, create economic opportunity and leverage private sector investment even further.

How do we measure the changes in our emissions in our Community?

The City uses a national standard (called a protocol) for measuring emissions (the 2012 U.S. Community Protocol), which tracks energy usage (both electricity and natural gas), how clean the energy we consume is, the amount of waste disposed of in the landfill, the number of vehicles miles traveled and which vehicles are traveling those miles, and our overall water use.

In 2017, the City is transitioning to the Global Protocol for community-scale greenhouse gas emission inventories (or GPC). This new protocol will allow the City to leverage the same platform as thousands of other communities to better communicate the impact of cities for addressing this global challenge.

Who determined this was a priority for our community?

The City of Fort Collins is deeply committed to doing our part in addressing the global challenge of climate change and has been engaged on this issue since 1999 (when our first Climate Action Plan was completed). Since that initial work our residents and businesses in Fort Collins continue to lead on this issue. In 2015, City Council unanimously adopted the updated goals (see above) and reaffirmed the priority of this work to Fort Collins.

What are some of the key actions the City has already taken?

The City has well established programs related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste reduction and transportation that have proven to have made a difference in the community. More information on these programs can be found in the Fort Collins 2015 Climate Action Plan Framework available at

How do I learn more and get involved?

Stay updated on the project at and sign up for our newsletter updates. You can also contact Lindsay Ex, the Climate Project Manager, at or 970.224.6143, or Carrie Frickman, the Climate Program Coordinator, at or 970.416.4362.